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Author Topic: Heathens Caused the Market Meltdown!  (Read 4046 times)
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Blackadar
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« on: November 21, 2008, 02:18:38 AM »

Un-fucking-believable.  I'd think this was a joke, but it isn't.  From the WSJ today...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122714101083742715.html

Quote


Notwithstanding the cardboard Santas who seem to have arrived in stores this year near Halloween, the holiday season starts in seven days with Thanksgiving. And so it will come to pass once again that many people will spend four weeks biting on tongues lest they say "Merry Christmas" and perchance, give offense. Christmas, the holiday that dare not speak its name.

This year we celebrate the desacralized "holidays" amid what is for many unprecedented economic ruin -- fortunes halved, jobs lost, homes foreclosed. People wonder, What happened? One man's theory: A nation whose people can't say "Merry Christmas" is a nation capable of ruining its own economy.

One had better explain that.

How the financial markets fell so far so fast will occupy economic seers for years. The path to 50% wealth reductions and the death of Wall Street was paved with good intentions, notably the notion that all should own a house, even if that required giving away the house to untutored borrowers with low-to-no-interest loans.

Did the forces behind the movement to replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" have any correlation to the nation in a financial crisis? Dan Henninger of WSJ Editorial page looks at the issue. (Nov. 20)

This good intention set off history's largest chain of moral hazard. The great unraveling began sometime between 2005 and 2007, when borrowers, lenders and securitizer shamans all found themselves operating in a zero-gravity environment, aloft on moral hazard.

The technical details have been described with harrowing precision by Robert Stowe England in "Anatomy of a Meltdown" for Mortgage Banker magazine. Briefly: "The underwater earthquake that first rattled the foundations of the mortgage industry came in the form of sharply higher delinquencies and defaults from a book of poorly underwritten subprime loans from the fourth quarter of 2005 through the first quarter of 2007."

His narrative runs through borrowers making misrepresentations on loan applications (fraud), the collapse of Bear Stearns's hedge funds, revised ratings-agency methodologies that led to "unprecedented" mass downgrades, causing a contagion that spread from subprime to prime home-equity loans, and a warning from the president of the IndyMac S&L that "the private secondary market is not functioning." This in turn precipitates a "torrent of deleveraging." Here's the best part: Mr. England's chapter-and-verse article appeared in October -- of 2007, one year before the current mass panic.

A more recent, widely emailed article for Portfolio.com by Michael Lewis of "Liar's Poker" fame describes a skeptical hedge-fund manager and his associates walking through the wild world of mortgage-backed securities like stunned characters in "Mad Max," in effect asking bankers, borrowers and ratings-agency executives one question: Why? Why do you think all of you can get rich, all at the same time, forever?

On Sept. 25, a week after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, Nicolas Sarkozy announced, "Laissez-faire is finished." Then the Washington Post asked on its front page: "Is American Capitalism Finished?"

Little or nothing that has occurred through this crisis discredits the system of free-market capitalism. Across several centuries of rising world incomes and social gains, the system has proved its worth. In this instance, the system has been badly used -- by mere people. Nonetheless, the dimensions of the fall and devastation that originated in subprime mortgages are breathtaking.

Amid all these downward-pushing pressures, occurring in plain sight, hardly anyone or anything stepped up to brake the fall. What happened?

The answer echoing through the marble hallways of Congress and Europe's ministries is: regulation failed. In short, throw plaster at cracked walls. Trusting the public sector to protect us from financial catastrophe is a bad idea. When the Social Security and Medicare meltdowns arrive, as precisely foretold by their trustees, will we ask again: What were they thinking?

What really went missing through the subprime mortgage years were the three Rs: responsibility, restraint and remorse. They are the ballast that stabilizes two better-known Rs from the world of free markets: risk and reward.

Responsibility and restraint are moral sentiments. Remorse is a product of conscience. None of these grow on trees. Each must be learned, taught, passed down. And so we come back to the disappearance of "Merry Christmas."

It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people. Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions.

The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines.

Feel free: Banish Merry Christmas. Get ready for Mad Max.

Did he just allude that those who aren't religious don't have morals?  Furthermore, did he just suggest that those who aren't Christian don't have morals?  It really is true...the last bastions of US bigotry is aimed at homosexuals and atheists.  I hope this guy is shitcanned tomorrow and can't afford to buy presents for his "Merry Christmas". 
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2008, 02:46:35 AM »

I don't even know where to start with this moron, so I won't..... *wanders off muttering*
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2008, 02:59:52 AM »

Happy Holidays.   icon_twisted
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2008, 03:29:40 AM »

I read that three times, and I still can't fathom how the two assertions of observations link in the reporter's mind.  They have nothing to do with each other.

Meanwhile, that anti Christian bias of the internet is sure a lot of undeserved abuse, huh?
« Last Edit: November 21, 2008, 03:40:46 AM by the Nightbreeze » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2008, 03:57:16 AM »

Its....its....all my fault.... crybaby

::facepalm::
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2008, 04:00:36 AM »

I'm pretty sure the author was high when he wrote that...think of the author as a Republican Hunter S. Thompson and then it all makes sense. 
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2008, 05:03:34 AM »

You think that's bad, go back and click on the video link and watch him spew it for three minutes with a straight face.
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Jeff
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2008, 05:10:52 AM »

Hang in there. Christian fundamentalism WILL die off in this country, eventually. They are being marginalized more & more every day, and people are getting sick of their hypocritical bullshit. This 'no morals without OUR version of God' is laughable and people know it.

The entire christian religion is dwindling in the U.S. down from 92% in 1992 to around 76% now. They weren't able to carry the election this time, even with a fundy on the ticket, and that's a big sign.

Their bigotry is exemplified in the shooting down of Prop 8, but these things will change. G&L's have made great strides in the past 30 years. From being completely shunned to being out in the open, and even able to marry in some states.

Things are changing. There will come a day when this 2000 year old book written by bronze age sheep herders will no longer rule American public policy.
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cheeba
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2008, 05:58:04 AM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on November 21, 2008, 05:10:52 AM

Things are changing. There will come a day when this 2000 year old book written by bronze age sheep herders will no longer rule American public policy.
And hopefully one day we can reverse all that prosperity gained from the Protestant Ethic that built this country yeah! Tongue
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« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2008, 08:24:57 AM »

I thought we exploited the original inhabitants for that?
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CeeKay
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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2008, 08:32:36 AM »

Quote from: Canuck on November 21, 2008, 08:24:57 AM

I thought we exploited the original inhabitants for that?

naw, they were just placeholders, keeping it warm for us  icon_twisted
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2008, 12:32:31 PM »

Add that to the Vatican cardinal declaring Obama an "apocalyptic" figure this week and I think we can see where the next 4 to 8 years is headed...and when Obama has to deal with some pretty shitty situations left fro him to deal with it will become all his fault and this meme of lack of religious values will get trotted out again and again and again.
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naednek
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2008, 01:34:40 PM »

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, whatever you prefer.  It's just words, get over it.  Personally, I don't understand why non-Christians get so upset over Merry Christmas, I think people who are, are a tad bit over sensitive.  And at the same time, Christians feel attacked because of it, and again I think they (and I'm speaking as a Christian) get over sensitive over it too.   But what makes me upset, is the over generalizations I see on this board and elsewhere, when things are quoted (usually from people who are on the fringe/extreme, and don't realize they do not share the same view as most Christians, but they choose to highlight it anyways).
« Last Edit: November 21, 2008, 01:47:12 PM by naednek » Logged
Brendan
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2008, 01:53:31 PM »

Do you consider the Wall Street Journal editorial board a fringe publication?
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naednek
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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2008, 01:58:55 PM »

no, and I wasn't really making a commentary about this editorial, but on the same token, while the WSJ is mainstream, the WSJ doesn't hold a belief, their staff do, and individually, who knows this person's background/beliefs
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Blackadar
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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2008, 02:46:42 PM »

Quote from: naednek on November 21, 2008, 01:34:40 PM

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, whatever you prefer.  It's just words, get over it.  Personally, I don't understand why non-Christians get so upset over Merry Christmas, I think people who are, are a tad bit over sensitive.  And at the same time, Christians feel attacked because of it, and again I think they (and I'm speaking as a Christian) get over sensitive over it too.   But what makes me upset, is the over generalizations I see on this board and elsewhere, when things are quoted (usually from people who are on the fringe/extreme, and don't realize they do not share the same view as most Christians, but they choose to highlight it anyways).

That article suggests a lot more than simply making "Merry Christmas" politically correct.  It certainly infers that those who aren't religious (and perhaps those that aren't Christian) don't have any moral code and that you need religion to keep people on the straight and narrow.  Imagine the uproar if someone made an argument in the WSJ that since Christianity preaches "ask Jesus for forgiveness and you will be forgiven", that it leads to riskier and irresponsible behavior and, therefore, Christians aren't as moral as those who aren't.  The WSJ wouldn't survive the month between the canceled subscriptions, pickets and the pulling of the vast majority of their advertising (and rightfully so).  Yet they saw fit to print something very similar, just directed at non-Christians and the non-religious.

As far as "Merry Christmas", I personally don't give a crap.  But this isn't a Christian country and we don't have a national religion.  Imagine having a holiday called "White People Day" and telling an African-American "Happy Whitey Day!".  Well, that's often how it goes over to the 1-in-4 people in this country who don't identify themselves as Christian.  If you're not Christian, the message is "Merry You're-Not-One-Of-Us-Day".  Now add that in to the fact that many people get time off for this Christian holiday (not to mention Good Friday), while they don't get any time off for their religious holidays, the big hoopla about shopping and all of the Christmas specials on TV and you're likely to get some folks a little sensitive about their outsider status.  Not to mention that many non-Christians get (knowingly or unknowingly) insulted when "friends" send Christmas cards to them with phrases like "Jesus loves you".  It's grossly insensitive and can be downright insulting - imagine getting a card from someone on Easter that said "Happy to the Death of your so-called God Day". 

With all that in mind, isn't it just easier to say "Happy Holidays"?  smile
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« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2008, 02:51:11 PM »

I think you could also throw in the new "Christian" idea of the Prosperity Doctrine as well as forgiveness if everyone wanted to throw stones.

A year ago or so I heard Osteen on some program extolling home ownership for those who thought they couldn't afford one as direct affirmation of the validity of the Prosperity goobldy goop
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2008, 02:57:13 PM »

I don' really understand why someone would be insulted receiving a "Jesus Loves You" card if they are not a Christian.

If someone sent me an Allah Loves You card i wouldn't feel insulted.  You can take it as a positive ir you can choose to be insulted.  If the card was trying to convert me in some way that would be insulting.  I might draw the line at Satan loves you  Roll Eyes

I think many companies, mine does, allow people to take their particular holidays off in trade for holidays that aren't theirs....within reason.
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« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2008, 03:12:03 PM »

Quote from: Jaddison on November 21, 2008, 02:57:13 PM

I don' really understand why someone would be insulted receiving a "Jesus Loves You" card if they are not a Christian.

If someone sent me an Allah Loves You card i wouldn't feel insulted.  You can take it as a positive ir you can choose to be insulted.  If the card was trying to convert me in some way that would be insulting.

Er, I think you meant to use a "Muhammad Loves You" card as your example.  Allah is the same God that Christians believe in.
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Blackadar
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« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2008, 03:13:44 PM »

Quote from: Jaddison on November 21, 2008, 02:57:13 PM

I don' really understand why someone would be insulted receiving a "Jesus Loves You" card if they are not a Christian.

Then you just don't "get it".  

Many people don't "get it" and are bewildered why such a message would be met with hostility.  Much like why some white people don't understand why blacks can call each other "nigger", but it has an entirely different meaning when a white person says it.  As the sender of a message, you only get to define it to a point.  It's really the receiver who ultimately assigns the meaning.  When the message crosses sensitive, personal boundries like race or religion, the receiver of such a message is likely to interpret this much, much differently than the intent of the sender.  Then again, since many people don't understand what it's like to be a minority, it's hard to understand this. 
« Last Edit: November 21, 2008, 03:17:11 PM by Blackadar » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2008, 03:20:02 PM »

Really, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays mean one thing for everyone:

So, in the new tradition of the people I say unto thee - Happy five day weekend!  nod

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« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2008, 03:32:09 PM »

Quote from: cheeba on November 21, 2008, 05:58:04 AM

And hopefully one day we can reverse all that prosperity gained from the Protestant Ethic that built this country yeah! Tongue

Ah yes, the fine "ethical" white folk that built this country.

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« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2008, 03:48:18 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on November 21, 2008, 03:12:03 PM

Er, I think you meant to use a "Muhammad Loves You" card as your example.  Allah is the same God that Christians believe in.

I think the vast majority of Christians would strongly disagree with you on that. It's a perception thing anyway, since gods are imaginary, and no one can demonstrate, produce, and in most cases even define one. The god that Christians imagine is (for the most part) papa Yahweh, son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, in some weird, unexplainable contradiction in terms of 3 persons in one godhood. I say 'for the most part' because you can't get Christians to even agree on what makes up "God". Some attribute Mary deity-like powers, and others take away Jesus' god attributes.

Allah is a single solitary being, with no personality splits like the Christian god. Allah 'teaches' different things, and points to a very different messenger and message.
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« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2008, 04:22:10 PM »

Quote from: Blackadar on November 21, 2008, 02:46:42 PM

It's grossly insensitive and can be downright insulting - imagine getting a card from someone on Easter that said "Happy to the Death of your so-called God Day". 

That card would be two days late.  I don't think they make cards for Good Friday. 
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« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2008, 04:35:10 PM »

Wow, people love to generalize on these boards. I don't know how many times I see the word "majority" thrown around without any real knowledge.

Christians are no different than any other group. There are your nice quiet Christians who worship on Sundays and never bother anybody. They follow their God and go about their business just trying to do the best for their families.

The same can be said about any group. Most gays are good people who just want the best for themselves and their families.

It is the fringes, the wacko edges of each group that create all the hulla ballo and then give the "majority" a bad name.

There seems to be a belief on the internet that all chrsitians receive their instructions via prayer every night telling them what they should do. You young ones may not know that when JFK ran for president many people argued that he would be told how to run the country by the pope.

I am not christian, I am not anything. I don't care for religion. But I don't mind Christmas or any other religious holiday.
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« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2008, 04:49:53 PM »

Quote from: Scuzz on November 21, 2008, 04:35:10 PM

Wow, people love to generalize on these boards. I don't know how many times I see the word "majority" thrown around without any real knowledge.

Christians are no different than any other group. There are your nice quiet Christians who worship on Sundays and never bother anybody. They follow their God and go about their business just trying to do the best for their families.

The same can be said about any group. Most gays are good people who just want the best for themselves and their families.

It is the fringes, the wacko edges of each group that create all the hulla ballo and then give the "majority" a bad name.

There seems to be a belief on the internet that all chrsitians receive their instructions via prayer every night telling them what they should do. You young ones may not know that when JFK ran for president many people argued that he would be told how to run the country by the pope.

I am not christian, I am not anything. I don't care for religion. But I don't mind Christmas or any other religious holiday.

Really? Every single one of us?

Ale
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« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2008, 04:57:26 PM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on November 21, 2008, 03:32:09 PM

Quote from: cheeba on November 21, 2008, 05:58:04 AM

And hopefully one day we can reverse all that prosperity gained from the Protestant Ethic that built this country yeah! Tongue

Ah yes, the fine "ethical" white folk that built this country.
If you're going to recognize the bad, why not the good?
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« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2008, 05:03:55 PM »

Quote from: Alefroth on November 21, 2008, 04:49:53 PM

Quote from: Scuzz on November 21, 2008, 04:35:10 PM

Wow, people love to generalize on these boards. I don't know how many times I see the word "majority" thrown around without any real knowledge.

Christians are no different than any other group. There are your nice quiet Christians who worship on Sundays and never bother anybody. They follow their God and go about their business just trying to do the best for their families.

The same can be said about any group. Most gays are good people who just want the best for themselves and their families.

It is the fringes, the wacko edges of each group that create all the hulla ballo and then give the "majority" a bad name.

There seems to be a belief on the internet that all chrsitians receive their instructions via prayer every night telling them what they should do. You young ones may not know that when JFK ran for president many people argued that he would be told how to run the country by the pope.

I am not christian, I am not anything. I don't care for religion. But I don't mind Christmas or any other religious holiday.

Really? Every single one of us?

Ale

Notice I didn't say "the majority of people on this board generalize"....

I just said "people"....  icon_wink
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« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2008, 05:12:35 PM »

Quote from: cheeba on November 21, 2008, 04:57:26 PM

Quote from: Jeff Jones on November 21, 2008, 03:32:09 PM

Quote from: cheeba on November 21, 2008, 05:58:04 AM

And hopefully one day we can reverse all that prosperity gained from the Protestant Ethic that built this country yeah! Tongue

Ah yes, the fine "ethical" white folk that built this country.
If you're going to recognize the bad, why not the good?

Enjoy your omelet.
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« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2008, 05:19:38 PM »

Quote from: cheeba on November 21, 2008, 04:57:26 PM


If you're going to recognize the bad, why not the good?

I assume by "the good", you mean the "Protestant ethic" that "built this country"?

Most slave-owners were Protestants. With ethics like those, who needs evil?

ehh, my point, Cheeba, was that Christians have revolving, changing ethical standards, just like the rest of us. This idea of a "Protestant ethic" goes directly back to Blackadar's point in the OP, that Christians tend to think that "you can't have morals without God". It's nonsense. There is no good in the phrase "Protestant ethic", because the phrase is meaningless. Their ethics change over time same as the rest of society.

I believe it was the Protestants who hunted witches and killed murdered young women by the tens of thousands not that long ago. A practice now considered ludicrous and barbaric by any standard.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2008, 05:22:37 PM by Jeff Jones » Logged
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« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2008, 05:47:49 PM »

I had Jehovahs witnesses show up at my door last week. They were peddling religion. I told them I have no interest in fairie tales.

I'm not a moral person, I have clearly been the cause of the market meldown.

Lynch Purge
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« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2008, 05:53:07 PM »

I will grant that religious belief is not required to lead an ethical and moral life.

But I have a question, and I don't know the answer...Is there any society that has developed that doesn't have religion as a vital part of it's fabric?
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« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2008, 06:00:51 PM »

Quote from: Purge on November 21, 2008, 05:47:49 PM

I had Jehovahs witnesses show up at my door last week. They were peddling religion. I told them I have no interest in fairie tales.

I always ask them which one of them wants to wear the gimp costume.... awhile back the Mormons were doing a door to door deal too, but they wouldn't let me know which one of them had the most wives.  I mean, c'mon people, work with me here!
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« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2008, 06:01:28 PM »

I would say that there's not.  Even the contries that don't have near the intrusion of religion into governmetn are still based on ancient codes of law that had their basis in religious tenets.
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« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2008, 06:49:33 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on November 21, 2008, 06:00:51 PM

Quote from: Purge on November 21, 2008, 05:47:49 PM

I had Jehovahs witnesses show up at my door last week. They were peddling religion. I told them I have no interest in fairie tales.

I always ask them which one of them wants to wear the gimp costume.... awhile back the Mormons were doing a door to door deal too, but they wouldn't let me know which one of them had the most wives.  I mean, c'mon people, work with me here!

 icon_lol
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« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2008, 08:03:26 PM »

"Then you just don't "get it"."

Actually, i think I do "get it".  I have been "blessed" by others by what they consider to be paying me an honor and have never taken offense and in fact felt honored.  Using your argument i should not reflexively say God bless you to someone who sneezes for fear i have offended them.

As you stated communication is a two way street and the receiver can choose how to feel.  You can choose to realize that someone saying god bless you is being polite and courteous or you can choose to be offended.

What is dismaying is that when in other countries it never seems to be an issue but here being PC is a HUGE issue.

what the hell is so hard about trying to understand the sentiment behind what is said?  When someone wished the blessings of Allah upon me I understood that this was a good thing not some assault on my religious views.

The United States does not make anyone participate in Christmas against their will.  It does not prevent anyone from celebrating their own religious holidays.  You are not required to be a Christian to do anything in this country nor are you denied any service based on religion...sexual orientation clearly has a ways to go.

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cheeba
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« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2008, 08:30:17 PM »

Quote from: Jeff Jones on November 21, 2008, 05:19:38 PM

There is no good in the phrase "Protestant ethic", because the phrase is meaningless.
You clearly don't understand what I'm talking about with the Protestant Ethic. Go here for a quickie.
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2008, 08:50:15 PM »

The idea that any one religion has a monopoly on any societal strength (or weakness) is puppies. 
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Scuzz
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« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2008, 09:19:52 PM »

I like puppies. Even ugly dogs are cute as puppies........ nod
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Mr. Fed
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« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2008, 09:32:12 PM »

As with many other instances of political correctness, the reaction has become far more ridiculous than the initial foolishness.

If someone says "Merry Christmas" out of good will, it's more than a little silly to get agitated.  (Note that "good will" excludes people who say it intentionally to atheists, Jews, etc. out of self-righteousness or spite, or morons who say it to Orthodox Jews in full regalia, etc.).  Does saying it to someone without knowing that they are Christian imply a Christian baseline/norm?  Yes.  Is that somewhat obnoxious?  Arguably.  But it ain't a hanging offense.

But the panty-wetting OMG-Christmas-is-under-siege rhetoric from the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Focus on the Family and their nut-sucking lapdog followers is completely ridiculous and pathetic, and vastly more noisy and prevalent now.  So any sympathy I have for that side of the argument in society has pretty much evaporated.

 
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