Interesting Student Speech/Religion Case in UK
Hamilton02 at aol.com
Hamilton02 at aol.com
Sat Feb 21 07:07:31 PST 2009
I agree with Steve. In fact, the increasing diversity of religious
believers in the United States makes civility in shared spaces more important than
ever. In the absence of civility and respect, we could be back where we were
at the founding with the Congregationalists/Puritans in Massachusetts turning
their religious judgments into violence against nonconforming believers and
the Quakers in Pennsylvania refusing to permit non-believers to hold positions
of public office (among other nontolerant attitudes at the time of the
founding and framing).
With respect to the exchange in Rosenberger between Justice Souter and
Michael McConnell, I'm not sure what Rick means about a "knockout." His clients
may have won the case 5-4, but he did not persuade Justice Souter. In some
ways, I thought the attempt to equate proselytization and persuasion diminished
the religious content of the proselytizing message and thereby took the
discourse away from factual realities.
For the person engaging in proselytization, the stakes are high, and those
stakes are communicated to the recipient. The content of the speech is about
ultimate and transcendental values. For the person on the receiving end of
uninvited proselytization, the not-too-subtle judgmental message is that the
speaker has the keys to salvation and the listener is going to hell unless
he/she follows the speaker's exhortations. Thus, in many circumstances,
proselytization can cross the boundary between civility and rudeness, especially when
the proselytizers assume that the end (salvation) justifies the means
(rudeness). So while Michael's riposte was good courtroom banter, I think it was
not ultimately on point.
In a message dated 2/21/2009 9:39:57 AM Eastern Standard Time,
stevenjamar at gmail.com writes:
I think teaching tolerance and the limits of civil behavior in public
settings is something we should do more of, not less of. I think
having limits on condemning others to hell is not a particular
intrusive limit for a public school setting.
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