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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:31 PM

Why should religion get special treatment?

Posted by Kevin Hartnett
December 21, 2012 05:43 PM

The United States, like many nations, extends a unique degree of toleration to religious beliefs. Religion gets special consideration in the Constitution; and as a society we tend to think that there’s something particularly valuable or deep-seated about religious beliefs compared to other kinds of beliefs, something that makes them especially worthy of protection.

But is there? Does it make sense, for instance, to distinguish between a vegan who won’t eat meat for his or her own particular reasons, and a Hindu who abstains for religious reasons? Or to think of religious-based objections to homosexuality as deserving of more toleration than what we think of as garden-variety homophobia?

These are the types of questions that University of Chicago philosopher Brian Leiter weighs in his new book “Why Tolerate Religion?”

Leiter begins with the claim that the United States accords “special legal and moral treatment to religion.” He gives the example of two boys, each of whom brings a knife to school: one is a Sikh carrying a ceremonial dagger, the other, a boy from a rural family that has maintained a tradition of knife-carrying for generations. Leiter suggests that authorities are likely to be much more understanding towards the Sikh boy than to the rural boy, who may very well get suspended.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/brainiac/2012/12/why_does_religi.html

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9839.html

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why should religion get special treatment? (Original post)
rug Dec 2012 OP
longship Dec 2012 #1
rug Dec 2012 #3
longship Dec 2012 #4
xfundy Dec 2012 #2
tama Dec 2012 #6
tama Dec 2012 #5
Jim__ Dec 2012 #7

Response to rug (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:00 PM

1. "Breaking the Spell" by Daniel C. Dennett.

I am bandwidth limited, and cannot respond until after the end of year. But this thread deserves a citation of Dennett's brilliant work.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_the_Spell:_Religion_as_a_Natural_Phenomenon

Highly recommended.

BTW, to all my DU Religion forum friends: Merry Christmas! Happy Saturnalia! Etc.

Due to bandwidth limits, I will not be back until after year end.

Bless you all, in your own way. I will miss you. If the Mayans were wrong about tonight, I will see you again after year's end.


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Response to longship (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:24 PM

3. Thanks for the reference.

Enjoy this time of year. You'll be missed.

See you in 2013!

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Response to rug (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:30 PM

4. The same to you, my friend.

Damned iPhone limits! Damned national forest no Internet connections.

But we do have snow! But damn the shoveling. Thank goodness for snow tires and a rear wheel drive Volvo.

We'll see you all on the back side on Jan 1.



Love ya all.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:07 PM

2. Better yet, why should they get tax breaks, or taxpayer money?

How much tax money is being sent to Pat Robertson and his creepy cronies? Millions.

And Pat sends planes loaded with bibles ... oh, glory, such a good work ... but the planes come back loaded with blood diamonds.

It's a pity today wasn't "the end" for the pigs who use religion to enrich themselves. Which includes basically all of them.

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Response to xfundy (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:35 PM

6. Why should

 

military imperialist statism get taxpayer money and oil etc. industry tax breaks?

And aren't you using US state to enrich you, to gobble up quarter of global resources for mindless consumerism of of 300 million Americans - or rather small minority of Americans and to ruin the planet for everybody?

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Response to rug (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:30 PM

5. Why?

 

For the same reason there is UN treaty about respecting rights of indigenous peoples. Which is the communal and cultural level of Golden/Silver rule.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 05:59 AM

7. The US constitutional protections for religion exist for historical reasons.

I agree with Leiter that as a philosophical principle, tolerance should be shown to all acts that are not destructive of the social order. But, the constitution has specific protections for religion for historical reasons, and, while the constitution can be amended, the history behind the original text can't be changed.

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