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My Take: GOP presidential field at odds with Americans' self-image
Mitt Romney in Michigan last week.
May 16th, 2011
10:05 AM ET

My Take: GOP presidential field at odds with Americans' self-image

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

All presidential candidates have flaws. But American voters want their presidents to seem presidential. What that means is that they want their presidents to look like them. Or, to be more precise, to look like they imagine themselves to be.

On this score, at least, the emerging GOP presidential field has three strikes against it.

Likely contender Mitt Romney may be tall, dark and handsome, but he didn’t do himself any favors by equivocating last week about the Massachusetts health care plan he signed into law as governor—a plan some are now referring to as Romneycare. Moreover, he is vulnerable for his resume as a moderate Republican.

But the real challenge for Romney, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, continues to be his religion.

Yes, the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom, and there is no religious test in the Constitution. But many on the Religious Right think that Mormons aren't really Christians and many on the secular left think Mormons are too conservative.

According to a 2007 Gallup poll, 24% of Americans would not vote for an otherwise qualified Mormon nominated by their party for president. And that is bad news not only for Mitt Romney but also for President Barack Obama's former Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, who is another Mormon mulling a presidential bid.

In this same 2007 Gallup poll, Americans were asked whether they would vote for an otherwise qualified candidate who was married for the third time. Thirty percent said no.

The question was designed to address the potential candidacy of Newt Gingrich, who has been divorced twice and married three times, and who officially launched his presidential campaign last week. Now it now applies as well to Donald Trump, who is also working on marriage number three.

Although the divorce rate in the United States is approaching 50%, Americans have elected only one divorced president: Ronald Reagan. That's bad news as well for Indiana governor and potential 2012 candidate Mitch Daniels, who was divorced from his first wife in 1994 before reconciling with and remarrying her in 1997.

Speaking of Daniels, there is that pesky problem of his height, which is officially 5 foot, 8 inches.

Study after study has shown that tall people make more money and rise higher in the corporate ranks than short people do. This bias is so clear, and so palpably unfair, that a Harvard economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw has argued for a tax on tall people.

But this heightism, if you will, is also clear in the Oval Office. Many of America’s greatest presidents — John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt — have stood 6 feet or taller. And Abraham Lincoln towered above his fellow citizens at 6-foot-4.

Short men, by contrast, don’t usually get elected president. The last president who was substantially below average in height was Benjamin Harrison, elected in 1888. Short men who have managed to sneak into office have not fared as well as their taller colleagues (Jimmy Carter stands a bit over 5-foot-9).

Mitch Daniels, through no fault of his own, is a lesser man. President Obama, for the record, is 6-foot-1.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Health care • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Polls • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (249 Responses)
  1. .

    Post by 'Saraswati' is correct and I am a jackass. Whoa, did I just create a whole new form of fallacy? Hence forth, this fallacy shall be know as Jack in the Dirtbox fallacy .

    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html derpeedoo

    January 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  2. .

    Post by 'Saraswati' is correct and I am a jackass. Whoa, did I just create a whole new form of fallacy? Hence forth, this fallacy shall be know as Jack in the Dirtbox fallacy .

    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html derp

    January 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  3. .

    Post by 'Saraswati' is correct and I am a jackass. Whoa, did I just create a whole new form of fallacy? Hence forth, this fallacy shall be know as Jack in the Dirtbox fallacy .

    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

    January 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  4. .

    Post by 'Saraswati' is correct and I am a jackass. Whoa, did I just create a whole new form of fallacy? Hence forth, this fallacy shall be know as Jack in the Dirtbox fallacy .

    January 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  5. Andrew

    Mark, you structure your points around me because you were criticising a statement I made. Your criticism must then accurately reflect my argument, rather than what you perceive I meant. By not structuring it in a way logically consistent with my argument, you're creating a strawman of my position, as you're attacking an argument I never made. You've been attacking a position I never took this entire time. You seem far more content beating an image rather than an argument.

    No, of course a gay isn't only 'believing he is gay', I distinctly made that point numerous times before. Perhaps you didn't read it. "A gay person isn't gay because he believes he is gay, he is gay because it is a personality trait", remember, you took issue with 'personality trait' and I explained to you that I was using the term to reference aspects of who someone is. Such as being kind, or indeed being heteros-xual, or just having blue eyes. The fact that I then went on to talk about the possibility of a person saying 'I believe I am gay' while evidence shows the individual is not gay means that I CANNOT say 'Gay guy is only “believing” that he is Gay in your book?', as belief does not impact the truth value of the statement 'I am gay'.

    (How you failed to grasp that I'm not sure I'll ever figure out. That's a fairly poor misconception of what I said even in your rather large slew of misconceptions)

    And 'fundamental properties of people' are endemic, like eye color, like being gay, like being kind, like being smart, etc. 'Belief' is as much a property of people as clothing is, not representing the person themselves but a tacked on detail. I never considered (nor really indicated, unless you'd like to quote me) belief to be any more or less than that. I must recognise people are in possession of beliefs just as people are in possession of clothing. Did I indicate that I thought people didn't have beliefs? Because as far as I'm aware, mere structuring of the phrase 'beliefs are not worthy of respect simply because they are sincerely held' inherently implies people sincerely have beliefs. But that doesn't make beliefs an integral characteristic of a human being. Which I've been saying. Over and over.

    I also made the gay/bigot statement pretty fairly clear. I'm once again amazed how you missed it. It was two sentences afterwards. "They may be born pre-disposed to believing bigoted things, but that's a very different issue altogether." How you could ignore that, or ignore the aforementioned 'people aren't gay because they believe they are gay', is honestly beyond my comprehension. How much more clear could I make it than having already stated the exact word for word opposite?

    Born pre-disposed to believing bigoted things is not the same as being born with bigoted ideas. You cannot have a person hate jews born in a vacuum because there is no way for them to learn the idea. They may be more likely to adopt the idea when they do, but again that's a different issue. And I've stated, over and over, directly, that being gay isn't a choice, it's something someone is born with, a defining characteristic of who they are. The equivalent, for bigots, would be 'a person inherently more likely to believe bigoted ideas'. That doesn't make the ideas any more worthy of respect though. Being gay isn't an idea, like I said, people aren't gay because they believe they are gay.

    If you don't care what my actual point is, then I'm done here. Why you're talking about 'my atheistic beliefs' is also beyond me. And I care if someone's feelings are hurt for things like attacking them. If someone calls a friend of mine ugly I'll of course offer support. But I don't care if feelings are hurt because beliefs are challenged.

    No, I don't seem to adopt your seemingly 'under no circ-mstances should we ever let anyone else's feelings get hurt, even if that means refusing to challenge beliefs' hard line. (Which seems hypocritical because by trying to paint me as a Nazi, especially when nothing you said has logically shown how what I say could possibly cause violence on that level, seems to me you don't care about other people's feelings all that much. If I knew you in person, rather than online, what you said is far more hateful and vile than anything I did. Though online it just seems silly.)

    But at this point, I'm just going to agree to disagree. If everything I say will be constructed into a weird twisted strawman of my argument, and if you will miss my points, or say I take stances which I have, explicitly, in no uncertain terms, said the exact opposite, then we're not debating. We're not discussing. You're beating straw, you've been attacking straw this entire time.

    I sincerely don't think you really understand what I've been saying this whole time, and frankly, I give up. If you want to consider it a hollow 'victory', by all means, or if you want, try to reread what I wrote with a clear mind. I'm tired of being your scarecrow. By your standards, you'd find no limit to peaceful philosophers (At the beach earlier today I was reading Thoreau's Walden, who also was not afraid of insulting, ridiculing, and outright attacking some fairly commonly believed ideas, interestingly enough. Nor can you find an individual much more peaceful than him. Hell, even I felt some of my most treasured beliefs being challenged by him, and he wasn't kind about it either.) who would champion 'the foundation of many deaths throughout history". It's clear I'll never get you off this slippery slope, so I'm going to stop trying.

    Cheers. Maybe one day you'll realise the person you've been arguing with is just a false image of me.

    May 19, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Andrew – I do not take this away as a hollow victory, I do not even take this as a victory. Maybe in the thought that somewhere in this conversation you picked up something that you will keep in the back of your mind. The concept that you will never be able to fully stomp down a large segment of society through direct verbal confrontation and that even while you, I whole heartedly believe will not take the next step toward out right violence, others might.

      I only had that goal mind for you Andrew. Your beliefs I did not really care about but your methods of debate were enough to get me to continue to post. I was that concerned, heck I just got back from my vacation the other day. There were post I made while traveling through the back woods of North Carolina.

      –> “Mark, you structure your points around me because you were criticizing a statement I made. Your criticism must then accurately reflect my argument, rather than what you perceive I meant.”

      The problem is that I first began with responding to your original post about tolerance and your use of “ridicule”. As much as you wished me to move on to something else I had to stay on target. You touched on the “tolerance” part about the Neo-Nazi beliefs and I addressed that. I see know that you are stating that beliefs are a piece of property, like clothing. Also the Gay and Neo-Nazi argument....felt yourself being pushed into a cliff, didn't yah :) But nice way to correct in mid stream Andrew on both.

      I will consider it a victory, maybe in your future. Maybe when someone from a Faith offers a hand of friendship to you and you pause and instead of ridicule you contemplate …

      ….that tolerance really does not “suck” that bad.

      It was a great exchange though, and I was honored. Peace dude. Also we covered Thoreau this semester right after Emerson. Thoreau was pretty good, the architect of the ...I would call them "tree huggers"...but that would be ridicule :) .... It is interesting that you would find him interesting. Thoreau pretty much hated any others opinions, pretty much hated others company as well. The guy hated the post office because it brought the people to him, even in the forest. Of the Transcendentalist writers he was one that I did not care for that much. Not worst than Poe... I would rather be in that cabin Thoreau built with both him and Emily Dickinson, than to spend a minute with Poe. Question though, in a search for a writer that covers the higher self and mans true potential would you read Thoreau, which I feels would achieve such only to keep it bottled up. You visit a blog/message board, Thoreau would have hated you for it because you have pretty much brought me into your "waldon woods". Followers of Thoreau, I feel would modernize his dislikes for the newspapers of his time to the dislikes for the media outlets of our time. Coming to CNN and posting.... not something that he would approve of.

      "find it so difficult to dispose of the few facts which to me are significant, that I hesitate to burden my attention with those which are insignificant, which only a divine mind could illustrate. Such is, for the most part, the news in newspapers and conversation. " Thoreau.

      Don't worry though, I am human, chances are a statement of "tree hugger" or "liberal flake" will find their way to postings and you will be able to say ... "I told you so" :)

      May 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  6. Mark from Middle River

    Andrew My reply is posted up with the post from yesterday. :(

    May 19, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  7. Mark from Middle River

    Andrew, my point since the beginning has always been the issue of the use of “ridicule” as a method of debate and your stance towards tolerance as something that “sucks”. I can not say it any more clearer. I will continue to do so hoping that you might one day understand. That you find yourself on the side of s many despots, tyrants and mass murderers throughout history that also believed that tolerance “sucks” is your severe failing. Personally it is not a place that I would want to be.
    I love that you are giving me the options to choose from.... I never could have formed them on my own :) Nice to see you judging when I corner you one one thing or another that its just a “tangent”. I guess we are playing by your rules and you get to judge. Oh Well.
    I will go back and try to further “break down” my position. For most the belief or the view is the persons or in some cases the group. A line in a old Twilight zone epsiode had a character stating that once he speaks his thought that thought lives even after he is shoveled into his grave. Maybe you are of that type of thinking. You have given human characteristics to a thought or a belief. It is almost as if they are two living and breathing things to you. I do see your attempts to separate people from their views but it is who we are as humans. Everyone, has labels given to them, some have labels that they choose for themselves. This is why one of the basic questions of philosophy is “who are you”. As much as I can't stand the neo-nazi it is the person that I have to change because the view is something that can not be killed. It is not alive Andrew.... it will go on and on, and all we can do is tackle the people.
    I wanted to bring you back to the transgendered statement because of what you said:
    “Someone is not gay because they believe they are gay, they are gay because that is a part of their personality.”
    If a person argues that their ability to hate Jews was part of their personality would you then respect it Andrew. If they state that since you can not find a gay “gene” or a “bigot” gene then, should you not show the same respect to both the gay male and the neo-nazi? If they show you brain scans that show that their noggins both react to certain stimuli, one positive and one negative... can you continue to respect one and not respect the other Andrew?
    It is what you, for some reason, choose not to accept Andrew. Your use of ridicule does not work and when it fails folks have the potential of doing stupid and hurtful things. So for me it is always going to be the person I attack or attempt to reason with. I want him or her to walk away from that part of themselves. You yourself used the term “entrenched”. Do you know that to many their views are as much a part of them as their skin or eye color.
    I could do as you desire and just attack the view but believers in that view now have so many outlets that will boaster the view. Maybe its that you do not see that we are in a more connected world Andrew and that the rules have now changed.
    The goal is to respect the opposition and require respect back. Find out if there is anyway that all sides can come to some point of understanding. If not, then the gloves come off but I do not see how just ridiculing a idea of “Jews are evil” is going to get through to some Neo-Nazi. Do you think that it will work?
    I do like that you gave me the options.... so sorry that I choose not to use either :) World does not play by your rules Andrew.
    Peace...bedtime.

    May 19, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Andrew

      Mark if you understood my argument you'd structure the question in the way I've been structuring my statements.

      This isn't about showing respect to people. I keep saying that. It's about showing respect to beliefs on the basis that they are sincerely held.
      There are three beliefs here.
      "I believe jews are evil and deserve to be killed".
      "I believe I am a neo-nazi".
      "I believe I am gay".

      Someone can show themselves to be a neo-nazi and I will respect the belief that they believe they are a neo-nazi. Just like I respect the belief that someone believes they are gay. I cannot question that, the two are logically equivalent. The first idea, however, is very different. Respecting the belief that someone believes they are a neo-nazi is very different from respecting neo-nazi beliefs.
      (In an interesting partial tangent, 'Jews are evil, they deserve to die horrible violent bloody long and painful deaths' and follow that with 'I believe I am not a bigot", I'd argue the latter belief then is not worthy of respect period because it is demonstrably false and directly contradicted by the preceding statement. In the same manner, if you could directly show the statement 'I believe I am gay' to be false, by showing that an individual routinely avoids the same s-x and sleeps with multiple individuals of the opposite s-x frequently, and shows no signs of arousal from members of the same s-x but shows multiple signs from members of the opposite s-x, the statement then would also be worthy of no respect even if the person sincerely believes they are h-mos-xual, as evidence directly contradicts the statement, and statements are not worthy of respect just because they are sincerely held. In all cases, the statement 'belief deserves automatic respect for the sole reason it is sincerely held' would always be false when looking at any belief. You always need reasons independent of 'people sincerely believe it' to respect a belief.)

      Beliefs again though, are not a fundamental property of a person. One does not believe neo-nazi things because they're born believing neo-nazi things. One isn't born believing the earth is 6000 years old. They may be born pre-disposed to believing bigoted things, but that's a very different issue altogether.

      And the fact you have been arguing about ridicule shows you don't really care WHAT my argument is. I'm happy to debate the merits of ridicule as a tactic AFTER YOU ESTABLISH YOU UNDERSTAND MY ARGUMENT.

      Beliefs are different from people. Belief is not worthy of automatic respect simply because it is sincerely held. If someone believed I deserve to die a violent horrible bloody long death, I would not respect that belief just because someone else sincerely would believe that. I imagine you would not respect the same belief about yourself. The reason being that we should not automatically treat all beliefs with respect just because they are sincerely held.

      That is my argument. I've said it in every single post I've made. I've also said 'this is my argument, beliefs do not deserve respect just because they are sincerely held'. It is the one constant over all the tangents you've forced me to address, and the one thing you consistently avoid mentioning. You can address ridicule AFTER you address my argument. You don't get to set the parameters of the argument to center around ridicule because that was not the topic of my discussion in the first place. It wasn't the main topic of my original post. The only topic of my discussion is the only one you've neglected to address.

      Seriously, do you still not get what I'm trying to say? Is there a reason you seem to have neglected to even mention it? I gave you choices because no matter what you seem to be going through great lengths to not directly address what I'm saying. You have crafted hypotheticals, beaten strawmen, attached yourself to tangents, but the crux of my argument, the statement 'beliefs are not automatically worthy of respect simply because they are sincerely held' has been ignored outright.

      May 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  8. Mark from Middle River

    Wow, I have edited and edited my original post and if you go back about eight or ten threads you will see where I had began to post line by line to find the words that set off the "awaiting moderation", So, better to start off again from scratch.

    The basic focus of my tons of words response was to ask Andrew what will he do when ridicule fails. Maybe in Thomas Jefferson's day it was possible but the country is pretty evenly divided on most issues so the weapon of ridicule has no real power. Each camp has its chorus of supporters so once you begin to make fun of a single person, in an debate, as a joke all she or he has to do is return to their camp and their views are re-affirmed.

    You see this break down in something as simple as the split between the cable news network. People choose the media service that is closer to their views and spend page after page ridiculing the other side. Right now you have FoxNews on the right and MsNBC on the far left and somewhere left of center is CNN. If you read post on MsNBC about FoxNews they readers will say that Fox is not a legitimate news agency. Listen to FoxNews and MsNBC is not a legitimate news agency. Both blogs are loaded with page after page of post and guess what, in the great stream, it does not matter. All the demagoguery at each site will have no effect on the other site. Tomorrow FoxNews will be reporting with a lean to the right and MsNBC with a lean to the left.

    In other words, your method of ridiculing fails! :)

    My question is Andrew since ridicule only speaks to its own choir, what happens when it fails in the same way it has failed throughout history? Germany had a answer back in the 30s and 40s. After a period of ridiculing the Jews in speech after speech failed to motivate the same Jews to leave Germany the next step was taken. It is because, just you also stated, they did not care whose feelings got hurt. That is why I am saying that your method of choice very similar to the Nazis and pretty much a lot of people in history that have caused a lot of bloodshed.

    I will entertain your statement about the sentence prior to when you said that tolerance “sucks”. You start with saying: "You have to tolerate all of them " and you end with "It sucks doesn't it?", and the middle you you dance around saying that beliefs that you do not hold true are "silly". So is it in that dance you feel that it I justified? This is too easy.

    I am posting here Andrew because folks like you get people wiped out because ridiculing is the wick to the dynamite. It is like when I said folks these days, especially on internet blogs, are too strong in their beliefs. When they refuse to fold then there are sadly ones in groups that listen to the ridiculing in speech after speech and come to the conclusion that it has fail so the next step is “direct action” to effect change. Why not, they have listened to and read hours of jokes about the enemy that makes them less than human, so why not move them, kill them..etc.

    Peace, I think the issue is that Andrew feels that he can effect change by ridiculing his opponents and I feel that this is a dangerous method of debating. I believe that there are more effective and safer ways to effect change and bring peace to a society. With ridiculing there is the lack of respect and without that then the only way to win, to effect change, is a peace at the end of bloodshed. I do not feel bad about attempting to correct Andrew.

    I am sorry that you had to miss sleep over it.

    Andrew – Finally, any answer on the Trangendered question?
    Thanks dude,

    May 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Geez... I had to go line by line again. Check out page five and the thread on dumping Bin Laden overboard.

      May 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Andrew

      Once again, you failed to respond to what I said. You're right, my statement started with 'you have to tolerate them all', and ended with 'sucks doesn't it?', but again, 'them' refers to 'belief', rather than people. It has nothing to do with beliefs I consider silly. Beliefs I consider silly can still find ample reason to be respected, but not just on the principle that they are sincerely held. I consider the belief in trickle down economics to be silly, but arguments for respecting the belief center around economic philosophies, rather than just 'because I sincerely believe in trickle down economics'. What I consider silly is irrelevant. My argument stands independent of whatever beliefs I might hold myself. The only thing that is important is that you tell me why belief is worthy of respect based only on the principle that it is sincerely held, because if you agree they are not, you agree with me! That is the main argument I have been making, and the only argument you seem to be ignoring. You seem happy to jump on irrelevant tangents, but my main argument has yet to even be casually alluded to by you, let alone addressed.

      In respect to you, I will answer the question you asked, despite it being an even further tangent from anything I was talking about. Me talking about gays, men, women, it was meant to refer to who people are rather than what they believe. I used 'personality trait' and 'biologically male and female' only to go so far as to imply that they are fundamental to one's being, rather than a learned belief which is subject to scrutiny. I cannot scrutinise one for being gay, because one doesn't choose to be gay or learn to be gay. I cannot scrutinise one for being transgender because one doesn't choose to be transgender or learn to be transgender. They are aspects of who someone is, rather than what they believe. If someone says 'I believe I am in the wrong body', then I respect the belief not on the principle that they sincerely believe it, but on the principle that they themselves serve as the only possible source on the issue, along with the fact that it is very likely their brains are wired in a way such that they really WOULD be akin to a male or female trapped in the wrong body. But even in that case, respecting belief is not done ON THE SOLE PRINCIPLE THAT BELIEFS ARE SINCERELY HELD.

      So, since I have directly addressed your question, can you please directly address mine so that you can finally reasonably indicate you grasp what I'm trying to say? Because here you responded to an entire tangent of the effectiveness of ridicule, which I would be happy to debate, as I take a contrary position to that (as indicated by my allusion to the geocentric model), but as a separate topic of discussion. The topic at hand, the one I have been saying over and over, which you continuously ignore, is that beliefs are not worthy of respect on the principle that they are sincerely held. That is insufficient justification to respect beliefs.

      I ask you again, why should we respect the belief that Jews are evil and deserve to be killed? Please, address my actual argument, just once.

      You either should answer 'we should not respect it', in which case if you want to provide a justification for why we shouldn't, fine, but you'd still be agreeing with me, because whatever justification you give would mandate that the belief not be given automatic respect just because it is sincerely held.

      Or you should answer that we should respect the belief just because people sincerely believe it. Which I honestly have a hard time figuring out how any sane person could really argue that. But, if you wish, by all means, explain why we should respect the belief that jews are evil and deserve to be killed just because people believe that.

      Can you please finally address my argument now? Please?

      May 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
  9. Scott

    "Speaking of Daniels, there is that pesky problem of his height, which is officially 5 foot, 8 inches."

    So what exactly are you trying to imply here Mr. Prothero? Huh.

    I want you to know that I am 5' 8" tall and I do not consider that to be a pesky problem.

    I think your whole article is a bunch of baloney. In fact I would like to invite you to step outside right now. You want a piece of me? Bring it on,

    May 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  10. EliteAmericans

    All Americans should get one of these lovely toys. Made in America!
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMBpy24rr_k&w=640&h=390]

    May 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Maybe if I go line by line, you will begin to understand.

      –>“Mark if you understood my argument you'd structure the question in the way I've been structuring my statements.”

      Interesting, I should structure my argument and points to you. I bet you feel you have won many debates that way. Have the person say things in ways that you want so to make it easier for you to tear down and take apart their points. Interesting and effective in debating. Sorta like a martial arts tournament and one fighter declaring since he fights judo, the guy he is fighting should forget any other style of fighting and only fight using judo. :)

      –>“Someone can show themselves to be a neo-nazi and I will respect the belief that they believe they are a neo-nazi. Just like I respect the belief that someone believes they are gay. I cannot question that, the two are logically equivalent. ”

      Amazing, you understood my question from above. Much respect on that one. Interesting so a Gay guy is only “believing” that he is Gay in your book?

      –> “Beliefs again though, are not a fundamental property of a person. “

      Amazing, I have gotten you to that point to understand that the view or the belief is, a part of a person. Percentage of importance is debatable. This point I wanted to press, because I had another African American ask me who I was. I guess hearing that a Black Republican he felt that since I was identifying as a Republican then I could not be a African American at the same time.

      Once you said today, that views and beliefs are a part of the person, that sorta puts your ridicule tactic into question. From your post it appeared that you felt you could cut and slice through a view or a belief and it would be ok, because you were attacking through ridicule the view. I have, since we began this dance, said that is a dangerous operation.

      –>”One does not believe neo-nazi things because they're born believing neo-nazi things.”

      There have been stuides, recently in Time Magazine that the predisposition to hate might be something that ones are born with. More on task, you state that you can not question someone being gay and that the viewof being a neo-nazi are “logically equivalent”. So, do you also believe then that Gays are also the same. You know, the born Gay vs choose to be Gay debate?

      –>“And the fact you have been arguing about ridicule shows you don't really care WHAT my argument is.”

      Wow, hit the nail on the head, I have been saying that much for while. I had issue with “ridiculing” and the “Tolerance=Sucks” part of your original post. Personally, that you hold Atheistic beliefs is not really that important to me. That your way of debating such is the foundation of many deaths throughout history does concern me. There are those of Faith that have the same style and to me it goes against the spirit of communications and opening the doors of dialogue between people who disagree or are in conflict. Ridicule is the point that juvenile behavior has set in and as you say the .. “do not care if feelings get hurt” takes hold of all parties. Once concern over feelings goes out the window, concerns of “naked children spitted upon pikes- Shakespeare” … will not and does not exist.

      –>“You don't get to set the parameters of the argument to center around ridicule because that was not the topic of my discussion in the first place.”

      When I first raised my hand about what you posted it was always about your use of ridicule and that you felt tolerance to those that held different beliefs and views ..”suck”. The anti-Faith stuff is a dime a dozen here on the blog. In fact there are two kinds of Atheist here, ones that want to have their Atheistic beliefs and just to be left alone and those that attacking the inst,itutions of Faith are their life's assignments. Yours is an extreme of the latter which is why I compared you to Bin Laden and the like. You saying “silly” beliefs is no real difference to him saying that those who did not follow his form of Islam, ...basically those that did not believe the same as him were “infidels”. For you it is those who do not believe the same are “silly”.

      It is nice to see your view that you alone control and set the parameters of this conversation and debate. All this time I thought we were addressing each other as equals and as men.

      –> “the crux of my argument, the statement 'beliefs are not automatically worthy of respect simply because they are sincerely held' has been ignored outright.”

      I have addressed it and with your posting today saying that a debatable part of a person is what you call a “belief”, …. and that you see no difference in the Gay and the Neo-Nazi.... I feel that you are at the point to admit that the view is part of the persons holding them. To disregard the view is to disregard a part of the person. To insult the view is to, in some, is to insult the person. Both of which gets us no where in the hope for Peace.

      Amazing, ….heading to Israel to sort out the Palestinian issue. :) Peace dude.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.