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What is 'drivel'? The description of Saudi Arabia? You're the one who obviously knows nothing of this region.
Although Egypt's regime is clearly softer than Saudi Arabia's, Islam is clearly at the heart of both society's laws, values and behaviors. You've never been there - have you? Did you know that in Egypt, a non Muslim can't marry a Muslim unless he/she converts?
by Lynch on Tue Aug 17th, 2010 at 04:39:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That doesn't make it a theocracy.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 17th, 2010 at 04:41:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My own experience of Iran, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Kuwait - 25 years ago or more, and thus perhaps irrelevant - is that 'theocracy' was equivalent in cultural importance to 'Conservatism' or 'Socialism'. I.e. it was not how most people in those countries conducted their lives.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 17th, 2010 at 05:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you say Christianity is at the heart of European society's laws, values and behaviours? Does that make France a theocracy?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 17th, 2010 at 04:45:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No I wouldn't. Would you?
In fact, as you probably know, religion and the state are officially separated in France.
by Lynch on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 02:03:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As you should know there's a difference between:
  1. Freedom of conscience
  2. State secularism
  3. Separation of church and state.

For instance, France and the US both have separation of church and state.  However France does not have freedom of conscience to the extent that the US does while the US is not secular. The Lutheran North of Europe does not have separation of church and state, but they do have secular states and freedom of conscience.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 03:08:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US, we have something called "blue laws" that in counties that have adopted them, prohibit the purchase of liquor on Sunday mornings or all day Sunday. It is widely known that these laws are pushed by Christian clergy and sects. Why? Possibly there is a fear that parishioners may get drunk and forget to attend services. Or perhaps it's conceived as a blow to the Devil.

But it is still an area where church-state separation faulters.

by shergald on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 08:50:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
France does not have freedom of conscience to the extent that the US does

Could you explain?

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 10:00:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientology is banned. I'm sure many other religions are.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 10:11:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientology is not banned (they have offices in many cities). As an organisation, the French branch of the Church of Scientology has been convicted of organised swindling, Thanks to a loophole in the law, the organisation hasn't been dissolved.

About "many other religions" that you claim are banned in France, could you elaborate?

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 10:31:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is not "banned". However, it is not recognised by the Ministry of the Interior as a religion, so it does not benefit from various special privileges granted to religions with respect to other forms of organisation.

For example, the "Church" of Scientology has been "persecuted" in France by being billed for taxes, as it made considerable profits, which is incompatible with its status as a registered non-profit association.

I believe it currently operates in France as a company (SARL).

I'm not clear on how this relates to freedom of conscience.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 10:53:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not clear on how this relates to freedom of conscience.

eurogreen:

However, it is not recognised by the Ministry of the Interior as a religion, so it does not benefit from various special privileges granted to religions with respect to other forms of organisation.
It appears the French State is in the business of recognizing and granting various privileges to religions, too? So what does that make of secularity and separation of church and state.

My whole point in any case is that attributing special importance to platonic ideals of secularity, separation of church and state, or freedom of conscience, or whether some state or other is a theocracy, is not only fraught with problems when one tries to make the terms precise in relationship with real-life examples, but is also not very instructive in the end.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 11:14:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well at least Greenspan admitted, finally, that he fucked up on Bush tax policy. Is this an example of freedom of conscience, to say I screwed up?

A lot good it will do us over here, when the costs of the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy, which caused enormous deficits, will have to be paid for by the middle class. If the right wing Republicans get their way and estend them, of course, the middle class will have to pay even more.


by shergald on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 12:12:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't the US grant privileges to religious organisations, too? Taxes come to mind.

Migeru:

My whole point in any case is that attributing special importance to platonic ideals of secularity, separation of church and state, or freedom of conscience, or whether some state or other is a theocracy, is not only fraught with problems when one tries to make the terms precise in relationship with real-life examples, but is also not very instructive in the end.

On this we certainly agree. And it's the most important point.

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 12:26:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would disagree. In a theocracy, the concepts of law and religion are one and the same. In modern Western societies (although the Ancient Greeks also based their socio-political order on this principle) the law is built more on the system of philosophical thought. The latter can change basd on social priorities at a given time. The former is immutable.
by Lynch on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 01:54:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That may be the funniest set of errors I've read in a long time.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 03:14:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're gonna have to do better than that buddy :)
by Lynch on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 04:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok that's the most utterly ridiculous set of errors he's seen in a long time.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 05:11:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you capable of AR-TI-CU-LA-TING ?
by Lynch on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 05:14:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes I am, but don't know as it's really worth my while

I would disagree. In a theocracy, the concepts of law and religion are one and the same.

Thats an extremely narrow view of what a theocracy, Iran by your description does not qualify as a Theocracy (In fact no government in the world qualifies by this standard)

In modern Western societies (although the Ancient Greeks also based their socio-political order on this principle) the law is built more on the system of philosophical thought.

Well your knowledge of Greek government is sadly lacking too (In fact a majority of  ancient Greek city states would qualify more as Theocracies than Iran would) The idea that Modern western government is based on systems of philosophical thought is stretching things extremely. Influenced by yes, but ascribing a secular basis is an amazing reach that should be beyond any honest consideration

The latter can change basd on social priorities at a given time. The former is immutable.

Well that statement avoids any knowledge of history The world changes, so even the most severe Theocracy is going to be faced with changing situations, making Immutability an impossibility.  Theocracies also have  a history of changing as social priorities change, for example,  the marriage of priests in  the Vatican has at times been allowed and not allowed, and has changed in accordance with social changes  inside the church

So Basically on the three major points inside your statement, youre wrong on all of them, badly

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 19th, 2010 at 04:34:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only are you arrogant, but you're also ignorant. Those two really don't breed promising offspring when they form a couple.

Regardless... as the issues exposed in this sub-thread merited a more detailed analysis, I took the liberty to publish a diary entitled "On Religion and the Law" which might be insightful to you. In that diary, you and Colman will have ample room (if you so choose) to explain why what I said constitutes the funniest, most utterly ridiculous set of errors you've seen in a long time. Then again, if you opt to respectfully walk away from that discussion, I will certainly understand.

by Lynch on Fri Aug 20th, 2010 at 03:34:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Id hardly say im Ignorant, or should I ask the university who gave me a degree where I spent a good deal of time studying ancient Greek philosophy and politics for my money back?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Aug 20th, 2010 at 09:59:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Take the money.

by shergald on Fri Aug 20th, 2010 at 11:04:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I take it that's a 'NO'
by Lynch on Thu Aug 19th, 2010 at 01:33:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is also the issue of conscience clauses. Such privileges are examples of "freedom of conscience."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 01:57:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's specific to religions.  I think it's nonprofits in general.  I may be wrong, though.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 19th, 2010 at 12:31:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sort of.

Recognised religions have stronger protections under US law due to the 1st Amendment than other nonprofits.

So who recognises religions? Well, that's where it gets funny. I suppose the IRS does. Or the courts, if the religion in question disagrees with the IRS ruling...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 06:14:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, let's see : the fact that some alleged religions are granted special status, and others not, is a freedom of conscience issue? Sounds more like a tax issue to me. Or is that the same thing? Obviously, there's a judgement call involved.

Ad absurdam : can I register my business as a religion? Please?

I agree with your (apparent) point that eliminating all recognition of religion by the state is the only option entirely consistent with secularity. The only real problem with this is how to handle the Catholic real estate.

However, I dispute your larger point that the debate is not very instructive. A real-life example : I take strong issue to the fact that I can not marry a citizen of (for example) Israel or Morocco without converting to the religion into which my potential bride was born (and perhaps not even then). This is an intolerable infringement of human rights, and a consequence of those governments delegating the institution of marriage to religious authorities. I'm sure you'll agree that the citizens of both countries would be objectively better off if this delegation ceased, i.e. if marriage were secularized.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 19th, 2010 at 06:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
Ad absurdam : can I register my business as a religion? Please?
L. Ron Hubbard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Some documents written by Hubbard himself suggest he regarded Scientology as a business, not a religion. In one letter dated April 10, 1953, he says that calling Scientology a religion solves "a problem of practical business [...] A religion charter could be necessary in Pennsylvania or NJ to make it stick."[111] In a 1962 policy letter, he said that Scientology "is being planned on a religious organization basis throughout the world. This will not upset in any way the usual activities of any organization. It is entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors."[111] However, in his work, Hubbard emphasizes the importance of spirit and mind over the physical body. He says, "... The body can be best studied in such books as Gray's Anatomy and other anatomical texts. This is the province of the medical doctor and, usually, the old-time psychiatrist or psychologist who were involved in the main in body worship."[112]


By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 19th, 2010 at 06:15:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientology is banned.

Scientology isn't a religion. It's a Ponzi scam with an expanded vocabulary and a vicious authoritarian streak.

Of course, the same could be said of some parts of the Roman Catholic Church, but Scientology is generally considered to go farther in the mind-rape department (and is a lot more consistent about it).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 06:27:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As you know, the EPP which is the biggest political party in Europe and its French member party the UMP and your President Zarkozy do say such things about Christian roots on occasion. That doesn't make Europe or France a theocracy...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 03:10:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But describing Egypt as a Theocracy or saying that many of the characteristics of Saudi Arabia exist there are a thing that most Egyptians would be mortally insulted by.I have been there before you start.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Aug 17th, 2010 at 04:53:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While technically not theocracies, these societies run with Islam at the core. I watched Hosni Mubarak on TV on a number of occasions making speaches to Parliament or the Egyptian people. 'Allah' and 'Islam' were so omnipresent, you'd think he was an Imam.
Regarding Morocco, the royal family claims to descend from Mahomet!
by Lynch on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 02:07:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I watched Hosni Mubarak[insert favourite US President] on TV on a number of occasions making speaches to ParliamentCongress or the EgyptianAmerican people. 'Allah''God' and 'Islam''Faith' were so omnipresent, you'd think he was an Imampreacher.

And your point is? That the US is a theocracy even before Palin becomes President?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 03:03:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a huge difference in the order of magnitude.
by Lynch on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 01:01:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right. The United States is a huge country and the world's dominating superpower. Egypt or Moroocco are nothing in comparison.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 19th, 2010 at 03:35:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding Morocco, the royal family claims to descend from Mahomet!

I believe the Queen of England is so by the Grace of God...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 03:04:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Worse: the Queen of England is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 10:07:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, dat.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 10:11:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could be describing Israel's attitudes, and laws, pertaining to mixed marriages between Arabs and Jews, or the many laws that describe Jewish-Arab segregation.

And so what does any of this have to do with Islamic terrorism, and groups that sponsor it? Iran likely sponsors and financially supports Hamas and Hezbollah, but that is support of terrorism only if you believe the US State Department, since bought and paid for by Israel.

Just who is keeping who under military occupation and stealing whose lands? Ever hear of state terrorism?

by shergald on Tue Aug 17th, 2010 at 07:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to be clear, this doesn't imply Israel is a theocracy. It's just full of religious nuts and theocrat wannabees.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 03:04:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually the term "ethnocracy" has been widely applied to what the Israel government has or is attempting to create in Israel. However, the government's support of extremist religious groups participating in ethnic cleansing in the Palestinian territories does suggest some overlap of the idea of religion and ethnicity.

by shergald on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 08:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
some overlap of the idea of religion and ethnicity in the case of Judaism? You don't say!

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 18th, 2010 at 09:04:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran likely sponsors and financially supports Hamas and Hezbollah

Hezbollah, almost certainly. Hamas, OTOH, I find harder to believe, seeing as they have historical ties with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, neither of which has ever been a bosom buddy with Iran.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 06:26:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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