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The Internet

Largest ISP In Philippines: The Catholic Church 249

Cheshire Cat writes: "I came across an article at mercurycenter.com. It's about how the Roman Catholic Church is the largest ISP in the Philippines. While it is very low cost, it also filters out porn sites. An interesting quote from the article: '[A user] types in the Internet address for a Playboy Web site. Almost immediately, the computer displays this admonition: 'Thank God you were not able to enter that bad site. CBCPNet suggests that you access wholesome sites instead. God Bless You.'"
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Largest ISP In Philiphines: The Catholic Church

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  • Doesn't suprise me.
  • Funny enough, it does the same thing for Slashdot...
  • And I thought that the union of the church and state was evil
    Maybe AOL should jump on the bandwagon
    Then we can hav the father son and steve case
  • Para ng gago!
    Ikaw taña...

    --
    Game over, 2000!

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @11:23PM (#1426964)
    They could always use another ISP. Just because it's the largest doesn't mean it has to be the one you choose. It's like people who whine about having to use AOL. When you ask why they don't choose another provider, they respond "But AOL is the largest!". (???)

    True, there are some areas in which the church really is the only service available, but I guess that's the price of development. If nobody else is willing to move in and provide service and the church is, well -- then it's their business how they want to run their service. Nobody is forcing people to get internet access in the first place.

    On the other hand, I've never been fond of Christian mission work. "We'll move in, provide needed services like medical aid and helping provide agricultural assistance, and in the process, we'll wash them of their evil non-Christian beliefs by assmiliating them through our indoctrination".

    Interestingly enough, the church doesn't have a problem allowing kids to play bloody shootem-ups in their Church-run internet cafes. I guess it's okay to blow someone's head off but not to reasearch breast cancer or track down a killer photo of Angelina Jolie partially nude.

    Maybe another entity will move in and provide competition in these areas and then there will be a choice as to whether or not they want filtered service or not. Then again, since the church has so much political clout in the region, they may just move into the legal system and demand filtering by all ISP's so that only the word of the almighty (Christian)God is available.

    All in all, this isn't anything different than what they'd like to do in the United States.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • by mrmunky ( 157278 )
    thank god you weren't exposed to REALITY.. pitiful.
  • hrm... smells like we need to do some more work to catch up w/ the rest of the world. You'd think that things would have slowed down after we ditched latin... but nooooo, just got to keep on going leaving us in the dust. What I'm really wondering about is when catholics didnt allow gambling... well... we can always be thankful we're not baptist right? :)
  • Sam Kinison reflected gracefully upon living in third world countries with his eloquent quote, "See, this is SAND. It's always gonna be SAND. We have deserts in America too, we JUST DON'T LIVE IN THEM."

    Get your free e-mail address @ TheVatican.com...
  • real life the pope doesn't allow use of condoms, but this E-pope does allow surfing with a E-condom. It's a strange world...


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    without having an idea
  • I can't really get pissed off at the church for filtering. It would seem really strange to me if they didn't filter out porn and maybe a few other categories like the occult. They are a non-government entity, so can do whatever they want.

    Filtering is totally consistent with the Catholic way. If they didn't filter, they'd be hypocrits.

    At worst, I might say "Shame on you, say twenty Hail Mary's" if they didn't make an honest effort to get half-decent filterware, or they are intentionally blocking (for instance) Protestant churches or general medical websites.


    My mom is not a Karma whore!

  • Although CBCP does censor, people always have a choice - they can get some other Internet prepaid or plan, and there are quite a few alternatives. It's within their right, after all, since they are offering the service. In fact, it could be a boon for parents who can't find a crack-proof way to porn-proof their computer - ISP filtering means that the kids can't fiddle with the settings, so it makes sense.

    If they're filtering out Slashdot, that's weird, though. =) I like Slashdot. *grin*

  • But this kind of thing really disturbs me. An ISP has no business filtering what their users can and cannot do on the net. They are paying for the service, so they should be able to dictate what they see (within the bounds of the law of course).
  • ... that don't even have TVs and the such play counter stike. They probly goto school the next day complaning about their ping times too.
  • by krystal_blade ( 188089 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @11:44PM (#1426973)
    Dear ISP user, we have received notice that you have been misusing your ISP account in an attempt to gain surreptitious entry into another network. Not only is this a violation of the contract you signed with the Catholic Church (for which, your soul may be forfeit, by the way) it is also a violation of the Bible, book of Revelations, Chapter 28, verse 13 (check the new version in .pdf format).

    "Do not seeketh to gain entry into heavenly portals, lest ye be struck down in the midst of your entry. Heavenly portals shall seek you out when they deem you worthy of entry."

    You can also look to the following verses, which are also available on our website for guidance.

    "If your keyboard is your problem, cut it off. Better to enter the portal of heaven with only a mouse, than to not be able to enter at all. If pointing and clicking is unseemly, then by all means, purchase VR glasses (from our website) and the new head mouse (also available on our website) and remove the mouse from thy presence."

    "For no one who hath hacked, or cracked their way into the portal of heaven shall be allowed to stay for long. They shall be given access long enough to know how wondrous God's creation, the internet, is, and in doing so, shall hopefully gain the wisdom of peace and harmony."

    For humor purposes only.

    krystal_blade

  • by AcidMonkey ( 188562 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @11:47PM (#1426974)
    It's the Catholic Church.

    Not a government agency obliged to respect opposing views. Not a corporation bent on maximizing profit. Not a monopoly unfairly using its marketshare to bludgeon potential competitors into submission. A religious organization, part of whose stated purpose is to practice and promote a certain code of conduct.

    The Catholic Church is about morality. They're supposed to instill moral behavior by word and by example. Of course they're filtering out porn, and probably other stuff that conflicts with the Catholic ideal. Would you ever take the Church seriously again if they were using their resources to make pornography readily available for all who want it?

  • by Cheshire Cat ( 105171 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @11:48PM (#1426975) Homepage
    Did anyone see this part of the posting?

    from the no-dirty-pix-of-amy-shaftoe dept

    I've only recently started to read the from the ... dept part of the postings. Is it just me or does this seem to be the consistantly best part of Slashdot?

  • how many hail Mary's my newgroup subscription list would get me..
  • Oh yes they do have the right to filter. If the filtered product is the only one they sell and customers know it, everything is totally legal.

    Think about it. Do you get shell access on dialup connections? Oh my God, they are cheating! They have no right censoring me from a shell account? Get the point?

    People in US should also understand that not all countries have unlimited bandwidth and cheap access. As mp3:s or Porn pics hog a lot of bandwidth and cause extra costs, filtering most of that is a small price to pay to keep costs at a reasonable level.

    I won't comment on how good those filters are or how tackily that filtering was done. Filtering has problems but so does unfiltered access.

  • I think it's great and I like the idea of an ISP a christian family could use without worrying what their kids might find on the net! What at pity that the Church here doesn't provide anything like this.

  • i've been reading 'em for as long as i can remember now, and i've been reading slashdot since august of '98 (under a different name, though)... a lot of the time they're really good, but many times they're horribly unfunny. i guess it all depends on sense of humor, mood, etc. but even so... some of 'em just really suck :)

    --
    you must amputate to email me

  • by Anonymous Coward
    An ISP has *EVERY* right to filter their service. After all, it's their service. They are paying for the service the ISP provides, if the ISP doesn't provide access to playboy, that is the right of the ISP. T.S. for the people who want to visit playboy.com and also use the church's service.
  • Yes they do. It's a free market down there for ISPs. If you don't like it, you choose another ISP. It's that simple.

    If that ISP was the only one available to them, then it would be a royal pain in the arse. And most likely illegal. (Only if they dissuaded any other ISPs from setting up shop. It's not a monopoly if no one else is in the business through free will.)

    And they are paying for the service, supposedly, with full knowledge of what is and isn't available. Or don't you read User Agreements?

    Kierthos
  • How is this union of church and state?
  • A relatively small portion of the magazine itself is devoted to "God's creation" (aka. naked and semi-naked women); The rest is horribly LIBERAL and SECULAR writing with no XTIAN MESSG in them. I bet that's what they really dont want you to get at.

    Anyone know if they also filter out Salon for printing negative [salon.com] articles on the church and its views?

  • We have deserts in America too, we JUST DON'T LIVE IN THEM.

    Ever heard of Southern California?

  • That's why people should use pgp/freenet/gnutella stuff.

    Anyway, real people already know that.
  • If it will filter out the cum sites which hit my email daily, I want their software open source.

    I have no interest in being protected but unless they are killing the email spam they are only hitting the tip of the iceberg in blocking websites.

  • Give it a few years and you will find more and more ISPs will start to filter. Especially in the UK where there is likely to be some precedents set down in the future based around the Obscene Publications Act and transparent proxy caches.

    If I, as an ISP, am serving you the customer, material which is deemed illegal in either your country or mine, I am deemed liable. It doesn't matter if the webserver it came from is on the other side of the world and I have no control, as under UK law I am responsible for the storage (transparent cache) and distribution (via my modem racks, DSL circuits, Frame Relay, whatever) of obscene material.

    Trust me, give it 5 years and the "bad stuff" will disappear, but at least in the UK we don't have the strong Bible belt and we are more "European" in our attitudes towards this kind of stuff these days (read as "the British have loosened up in the past few years and shagging goats is almost acceptable these days"). This is especially good as the whole Obscene Publications Act defines material to be illegal in a highly subjective manner - the society deems it OK, so the law will as well.

    Anyway, enough babbling..
  • How so? This is clearly another example of the Church's stance on abstinence.

    Kierthos
  • Try calling up HBO and dictating their programming based on the authority that you pay for their service.
  • Would you ever take the Church seriously again if they were using their resources to make pornography readily available for all who want it?

    Well, it's utterly impossible for them to filter all pornography, so they necessarily are using their resources to make porn available to horny Filipinos.

    Does this mean I can quit taking the Roman Catholic Church seriously? Am I authorized to walk up to St. Peter's Church and spray paint "Ha-ha" on the front door?

  • by jmorzins ( 86648 ) on Friday December 29, 2000 @12:24AM (#1426991)
    Keep a few things in mind when reading the mercurycenter article, and note some things that you may not have known when you read the leader above.

    (1) Percentage-wise, the Philippines are heavily Catholic.
    (2) People in the Philippines have a choice of ISPs. One ISP (initiated by the Catholic Bishops' Conference) is attempting to cater to what it thinks Catholics want. Are you angry that they are successful?
    (3) If you don't want CBCPNet to filter your internet connections, all you have to do is fill out a request asking them not to.
    (4) CBCPNet tells you how to report sites that you think were incorrectly filtered (either blocked when they shouldn't have been, or not blocked when they should have been.)

    I know that a lot of people go berzerk when they hear the words "internet filtering" or "censorship", but it doesn't seem like this is worth getting worked up about. The gist of the article is that if you live in the Philippines, you have the option of using an ISP whose default configuration blocks access to pornographic sites. The popularity of this option surprised Mercury News, so they wrote an article about it.

    I encourage you to read the CBCPNet faq (http://www.cbcpnet.com/faq/index.htm) or "About Us" page (http://www.cbcpnet.com/aboutus/index.htm), but I'll quote three questions here for ease of reference:

    What if I find an objectionable site that gets through the filter?

    Simply notify us and we will evaluate the site for addition to our blocked list.

    What if I find a site that is unnecessarily blocked?

    Simply notify us and we will evaluate the site to allow access.

    Can I request RCNet to turn off filtering for me?

    Yes, either when you sign up for service or anytime afterward. We can turn it back on for you anytime you request.
  • Hi! I understand what you are saying, but I think that you may be jumping to conclusions slightly.

    Just because the largest ISP in the Philipenes is the mother church, this does not mean that the Church is trying to 'wash them of their evil non-Christian beliefs by assmiliating them through our indoctrination', or at least, I certainly hope not! I thought that the point here is that there is a free market in the Phillipenes, and people there who choose the Catholic Church as their ISP are very probably already Catholics. Personally, I would like to have an ISP that filters content for me, at least when it comes to porn. Its one less thing for me to do! And the Catholic Church can be sure to spend its profits in a community minded fashion - by using a Church as your ISP, you are injecting money into the local community, rather than faceless shareholders, or at least, thats the way it seems to me. I would like it if more ISP's were not for profit, but for community. I would feel much better about my local ISP if it really were local. I think that the Catholic Church having an ISP service is a very good thing, and gives the commercial companies something to think about! Thanks.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    A quote from the site:

    CBCP may try to restrict users to wholesome sites, but it tolerates violent computer games. At most of the church's Internet cafes, paying customers like 15-year-old Michael Arigusa in Quezon City mostly use their rented computer keyboards to hunt down and kill bloodthirsty terrorists in a violent computer game known as ``Counter Strike.''

    Do you kow how much they charge for an a hour's worth of gaming? $0.50. And these kids play for hours.

    Hey, you can't browse pornographic sites, but we can let you play violent games where you kill each other by gunning down your enemy or throwing hand granades at them and see their blood get splattered all over the pavement. Oh, and don't forget the head shots!
  • If nobody else is willing to move in and provide service and the church is, well -- then it's their business how they want to run their service.

    Which is exactly my problem with this concept. The Church is acting like a business. Since when is religion a Fortune 1000 industry? Yeah, I know, it's nothing new. The Catholic Church has been in the business of making money for a millenia. (Indulgences, crusades, the mafia, etc.) During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church owned a third of Europe. But that doesn't make it right!

    Then again, since the church has so much political clout in the region, they may just move into the legal system and demand filtering by all ISP's so that only the word of the almighty (Christian)God is available.

    When the Ayatolla of Iran takes over militarily and forces a hyper-conservative flavor of Islam on the people, we shun the country and declare it a "rogue state." When Afganistan begins enforcing strict moral codes on the population (such as women are not allowed outside the home, ever), it makes it onto all the e-mail circuits as a crime against humanity. When the Catholic Church buys its way into imposing its moral standards onto a country.... then what?

    --GrouchoMarx

  • Just because it's the largest doesn't mean it has to be the one you choose.

    According to the article, the ISP's size wasn't the reason for its popularity. Rather, it was due to the Church bringing Internet access to rural areas where it was previously unavailable (as you point out) and to the low rates the Church charges. I'd imagine the latter reason is the more significant.

    Personally, I'd gladly switch to an ISP that charges 5% of what I'm paying now if the only drawback was that I wouldn't be able to view porn. Sure, it would take away one of the greater pleasures I derive from the Internet, but it's a worthwhile choice from a financial and a self-improvement standpoint. Like how I cancelled my cable TV service because of all the crap I found myself watching. Saving $35 a month and forcibly weaning myself off Asian porn really sounds like a nice deal; I only wish the Church operated such an ISP in the US.

    Hell, if any religion/cult offered me $100 an hour to sit through a brainwashing-style presentation of their dogma, I'd probably go for that too.

    As we all found out with those entertaining hypothetical questions on the elementary school playground, there's a wonderful spectrum of things people are willing to submit to in return for remuneration. Go ahead, offer me a million dollars to sleep with my wife.

  • by da5id ( 91814 ) on Friday December 29, 2000 @12:36AM (#1426996)
    "All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
    -- Thomas Paine

    "CBCP may try to restrict users to wholesome sites, but it tolerates violent computer games. . .
    While Quitorio acknowledges that the church frowns on the violent arcade games, he has chosen to take a pragmatic attitude.
    ``We were convinced by Eman that we had to adjust to the priorities of the market, or we wouldn't earn enough money to open new sites,'' he said. ``Since the terminals in most Internet cafes are used for games, we had to accept it.''"


    echo $email | sed s/[A-Z]//g | rot13
  • Well, I meant that half jokingly, half serious. In the real world, it's up to the peoples themselves to refrain from contact with the bad, bad world out there. The only thing the church about this is spreading fear, in the hope that people don't stray from the 'straight path' *cough*. In the virtual world however, it is suddenly *not* up to the peoples themselves. In this world the church provides a filter so that people don't even see the big bad world.
    How to make a sig
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  • The Catholic Church is about morality. They're supposed to instill moral behavior by word and by example. Of course they're filtering out porn, and probably other stuff that conflicts with the Catholic ideal. Would you ever take the Church seriously again if they were using their resources to make pornography readily available for all who want it?

    No, that's about par for what I expect from the Catholic Church. Using their money and influence to enforce their moral code on others. Inquisitions are out of style these days, so ISP filtering is the best they can get.

    I'm not surprised by it in the slightest. That doesn't mean I don't find it wrong.

    --GrouchoMarx

  • Totally agree. We don't have something like this here too ...
  • They apply "catholic rules" for each user whether he is catholic or not!

    So you may say, just don't use this ISP, but what-if it is the only one available for you?

    It is really incredible that those church people thinks they can decide what EVERYBODY should do, should see etc.
    That they can decide what is good or bad for the people that share their religion, this I can understand, but why oh why do they try to enforce their rules to all the other???

    It really shows that religious people (unfortunately this is not limited to catholicism) have really NO RESPECT for all those who dares not think in the same way even if "modern religious people" pretends the opposite.
  • It's funny, come one, you laughed didn't you? If you didn't then you need a humor transplant!

    Really, what if an atheist created an ISP and filtered out religious sites? When someone tried to type in the URL www.jimmyfarwell.com or something then they would get admonished with a page that said...

    "Good thing we stopped you from resorting to the opiate of the masses! Why don't you just do your thinking for yourself and enjoy a game of Tekken Tag?"

    I would go into what an agnostic ISP would do but it's not as funny...

  • The inquisition forced Catholic beliefs on everybody, this is providing an optional service. If people don't like the service then they are free to go elsewhere, surely it is better to have the choice.
  • this does not mean that the Church is trying to 'wash them of their evil non-Christian beliefs by assmiliating them through our indoctrination'

    How do you think the catholic church got started in the Phillipenes? They were a Spanish colony, and like all Spanish colonies of the day the locals were presented with two options: Become a catholic or we'll kill you, burn and plunder and rape your village in the name of our merciful god. The holy mother church has already assimalated them this filtered ISP deal is just another ploy to keep the sheep safely in the flock (and their dollars in the collection plate, and the political clout a large docile following gives them.) And considering that catholics aren't allowed to have so much as impure thoughts you can bet that the good church is using the "Draconian" setting in it's filter package, which probably includes anti-catholic web sites and sites about "competing" religons in the block file. However they permit violent gaming, but I guess that's understandable as people will need some outlet to redirect all of their repressed sexual desires, plus Half-Life probably makes good training for "slaughtering the infidels"
    And I wonder if the church is paying any taxes on the profits made from this business.
    And on a side note the person that coined the term "e-vangelization" needs to be beaten about the head and shoulders with something heavy and unpleasent.

  • Yep, this ISP might be a good solution for us as:
    1. it is big (they say "biggest")
    2. it is relatively cheap (I am not sure you can afford to be expensive in Philippines)
    3. it filters out mass-oriented website (pr0n, etc.) so that you know you might usually have enough bandwidth to nerd around.
    4. you can (hopefully) get here [slashdot.org] from there.
    So, yes.
    Actually, I don't plan to settle there and I also expect some people who actually used to to tell about their actual experience with them. I'd especially want to know if they filter more or less stuff as the Swiss Post where I work. (It could'nt actually be stricter ;-)
    --
  • Actually, you're wrong. Yes, Catholic missionaries did go to the Phillipines. They did convert Filipinos. But the Filipinos (well, a large number of them) thought that the Catholic Church was good enough that they independantly (of the missionaries) contacted the Church about settings up their own bishoprics.

    Now, as for whether or not they pay taxes on the ISP, I would venture that they do. Even considering the good relations that the Filipinos and the Catholic Church have, while a church's internal activities are free from taxation (at least in the U.S.), any external business is taxable. If a church in the U.S. performs any kind of commerce with an outside business, they pay any applicable sales tax. However, at least in the U.S., they are exempt from state and federal taxes on church related income, as well, AFAIK, from land taxes, etc. I imagine it is very similar in the Philipines.

    Kierthos
  • Then again, since the church has so much political clout in the region, they may just move into the legal system and demand filtering by all ISP's so that only the word of the almighty (Christian)God is available.

    When the Ayatolla of Iran takes over militarily and forces a hyper-conservative flavor of Islam on the people, we shun the country and declare it a "rogue state." When Afganistan begins enforcing strict moral codes on the population (such as women are not allowed outside the home, ever), it makes it onto all the e-mail circuits as a crime against humanity. When the Catholic Church buys its way into imposing its moral standards onto a country.... then what?


    In this case, the Church is running a business, not a governemnt, if you are unsure of the difference, read up on Libertarians (http://www.harrybrowne.org). Also the Church tends to comply with those silly UN resolutions on Human Rights, and International Law, unlike certain, Jihad obssesed countries I can think of. If a democratically elected government decides that certain actions should not occur, be it public nudity, suicide, smoking, or murder, this is generally considered ok. Heavily Catholic or not, the Philipines still claims to be a democracy.

    Jihad -Holy War in which people are given a choice between life, as the aggresor chooses, or death, as the aggressor chooses.
    Evangelism -Making people aware that they have a choice between the life they live now, and a new life that they might find more enjoyable if they would only think about it.
  • Stop this.
    Don't just catalogize any Christians because you had some issues with some of them.
    They are honest as you have the choice to go or not with them and you know it before signing at the bottom of the contract.
    SO, it is totally normal a Priest gives you his advice about pr0n websites.
    I agree with them as long as they don't change the rules every day.
    --
  • Indeed.

    For instance in many European countries there is in fact a State Church you're made a member of at birth and which gets its funding by public taxation (usually less than 1% of your income).

  • I'm sure that /. readers will focus on the filtering aspect of this article, and not the whole part about wiring remote areas. It seems to me that the Church is doing more to connect disparate parts of the country than any of the other providers. That actually sounds like something we could use in the US. Besides, you can request the filtering be turned off at any time, including when you open the account.
  • Actually there is one but they sort of went out of business. Lynxus got bought by qwest earlier this year and then decided to shut down the ISP portion but they still provide ISP side filtering for schools.
  • Not true. In the UK the legal precedent has been set - i.e. ISPs are not considered carriers but content providers. Therefore, under UK law all content is the responsibility of the ISP that a user is connected to. You're right in that ISPs should be considered carriers and not providers, but it depends on which bit bit you mean - they should certainly be held accountable for material held on their own servers, but it's a fine line when it comes to transparent cacheing as the material is held in the same way it would be if a user had FTP'ed the content up...
  • Besides, you can request the filtering be turned off at any time, including when you open the account.

    IF this is true, I think it warrants an update to the article so people don't get overly incensed. In such case the RCC gets a cookie for Doing The Right Thing. Anyone has a link to their Terms of Service?

  • From the article: Two months ago, Jaime Cardinal Sin, the nation's influential archbishop, was among the first to call for the resignation of President Joseph Estrada

    Seems like a strange name for an archbishop =)

    --

  • ...I only wish the Church operated such an ISP in the US.

    Well, IBelieve.com had a one for $20 a year called OnFaith.com [onfaith.com], but it looks like they died with whichever free access provider they were using. There are others out there (WorldChristian.net [worldchristian.net] and LtW.net [ltw.net] to name two) that cost as much as a traditional ISP.

    I doubt many of the users of these ISPs consider not being able to view porn a drawback. Well, at least the parents that are paying for it.

  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Friday December 29, 2000 @04:08AM (#1427057) Homepage Journal
    Agreed.

    I don't see anything wrong with what the Catholic Church is doing. They are providing a service at a price. Too high a price? Keep in mind that price has galaxies more significance than just money cost. Try to start another ISP. The fact that you can request the filtering to be turned off (and they'll turn it off) is telling, so in short this is a standard rubber-stamp slashdot overreaction.

    I am not sure getting the internet for all is even a worthwhile goal, it just seems like progress without purpose. I know I spend my time on stupid sites like Slashdot rather than self-improvement type sites, so the 'net for me has a negative influence on my time. ;)

    If you think about it, the pOrn industry is the first to really profit from the internet. Do I really agree with filtering? Not really. Should an organization that is likely loosing money providing internet service to private homes be _required_ to filter or to not filter? No. I think even the Phillipines is a capitalist country with some amount of freedom in that respect.

    Alas, much adeu about zilch.
  • Ok, which murderes are you descended from? America - killed the indians for no good reason. Brittain - India. France - South America. Portugal - South America. Italy - The knwon world 1700+ years ago. Russia? - Killed 50 million people while being communist and might be going back. China - kills anyone who might think of disagreeing with the government. The list goes on and on.

    If you are part of a group with a long history, it's prettymuch guaranteed to be one that involves bloodshed or at least opression and exploitation.

    Btw, do you think that the US government should pack it in because of the McCarthy era? Should every person who commits a crime pack it in either through honorable suicide or the gas chamber?

    Have you never made a mistake? If you have, it's time to pack it in. I'll expect your bloody entrails all over your keyboard in 10 minutes.

    What, going to forgive yourself for your mistakes? What a strange thought. Perhaps it might cross your mind to apply the same principle to others. Sure it might not be convenient, but intellectual honesty can be that way at times.

    Oh, if you go back 500+ years, the world in general was a much more violent place than it is in the USA today. Torture was a pretty common thing. If you don't believe me, check out what the justice system was like back then.

    Besides, if you don't know that the inquisition quickly turned into (if it ever began differently) an attempt by people to get revenge on their enemeies and grab wealth. It was a mostly secular affair, with a bit of religious infuence.

    So when you get down to it, landowners are the real problem. I guess that they're the ones who should pack it in. I hope you rent.
  • Isn't catatonic the word you're looking for?
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  • they now be called the Philistines, as they allow
    Quake, but ban Playboy?

    © Copyright 2000 Kristian Köhntopp [koehntopp.de]
    All rights reserved.
  • by Markvs ( 17298 ) on Friday December 29, 2000 @04:45AM (#1427067) Journal
    Historically, the R.C. Church has always aided the poor when it comes to money and technology.

    Consider:
    Once Gutenburg's printing press was perfected, it was the Church that was the biggest patron. For over 500 years, the most printed book on the planet has been the Bible. This allowed for spreading the word faster and cheaper.
    They didn't pay for Voltaire's Candide to be printed, though. :-)

  • It is good to see a voice of wisdom amoungst this mess of anti-Christian comments. You know if this were a story about some human sacraficing cult that filtered Christian web sites some of you people wouldn't mind at all. You be saying "Good for them," and stuff like that. Freedom for you and them.
    It comes down to this, it's their equipment, they can filter all they want and whom they want. Just because some of you don't like Christians, or Catholics, don't let those judgements get in the way of allowing a company's, organization's, or religious group's, right to filter what they want. You may not agree with it, but that doesn't mean it's evil. As many people have said, use another service if you don't like the one you're using.

    I know I will get moderated down for these comments, but these are the facts. I seem so hypocritical comments, and just ot make things clear I am supporting gunner800's comment, and not condeming it.
  • You mean, there really are nuns wearing beepers [shock.tv]!?

    I wonder if they still run their servers on OS/2.

  • One of these days I'd like to see a Slashdot article where people feel that the topic under sdiscussion is the appropriate level for censorship. Every round argues some new permutation of "It's somebody else's responsibility." When the government want to pass legislation, it should be done voluntarily. When ISP's try to filter, it should be the customer's responsibility. When the customers want to implemement filters, Jamie appears with another round of "Well, here is a list of x sites that got through the filter so obviously software solutions are impossible and unethical. Anyway, it's the responsibility of the parents." And then when parents, communities or religious organizations present their views of morality, they get blasted for not being up to our 1337 standards of cyberpunkitude.

    I swear -- someday there's going to be a story about somebody who is resisting compulsory intravenous Ethernet infusion of porn and everybody will be saying, "He has no right! It's his immune system's responsibility!"

    By the way, all the posts arguing that the Catholic Church is bad are missing the point. The point is that this is precisely what exercise of responsibility ought to be if we're going to avoid legislation.

  • If you don't like the ISP, don't use it.

    DUH

    Every ISP is free to do whatever the hell they want.
    --

  • Here are some links for people suffering behind such censorware. Hopefully not all of them are blocked.

    http://www.anonymizer.com/ [anonymizer.com]
    http://www.idzap.com/ [idzap.com]
    http://www.stas.net/xtcdraqon/space.htm [stas.net]
  • stories talking about their pedophile priests:

    http://www.thelinkup.com/stats.html

    The Catholic Church has been pretending this stuff doesn't happen for a long time. Sinead O'Connor may not have totally thought out her actions when she ripped that picture of the pope but she still takes shit for it now when all she wanted was some kind of acknowledgement that their may be a problem.

    If the Catholic Church can't get their morality straight, then why trust them with something as serious as your internet service?
  • For some filtering software will also filtered on the "proxied" links, such as anonymiser.com/http://www.some-porn-site/ ...

    It's the classic story - as the blocked find ways around the block, the blockers increase their block. Repeat.
  • In talking about the influence of the Church in the Phillipines: "Of course, building the Internet infrastructure also adds to the Church's considerable political clout. Two months ago, Jaime Cardinal Sin, the nation's influential archbishop..." [emphasis mine].

    Their nation's archbishop's name is "Cardinal Sin"? Oh, those wacky Catholics...=)

    [Put away thy holy flames...I'm Methodist.]
    --

  • ...by Dan Simmons then you'll know that the Catholic Church will be a major player in the future of technology in the galaxy. ISPs are nothing - just wait until they start dealing with AIs and making those cruciform things...
    --
  • On the other hand, I've never been fond of Christian mission work. "We'll move in, provide needed services like medical aid and helping provide agricultural assistance, and in the process, we'll wash them of their evil non-Christian beliefs by assmiliating them through our indoctrination".
    What's the difference between that and american corporations buying up companies all over the world, and sending teams of PHBs to "staighten-out" things? It's the same thing.
    Interestingly enough, the church doesn't have a problem allowing kids to play bloody shootem-ups in their Church-run internet cafes. I guess it's okay to blow someone's head off but not to reasearch breast cancer or track down a killer photo of Angelina Jolie partially nude.
    It's perfecly normal. The scatholic church has been responsible for more deaths during the last millenium than all other causes, save the automobile. Scatholics routinely persecute non-scatholics in order to force them into their bondage-submissive and highly destructive religion. They are directly responsible for the crusades and countless other religious conflicts throughout history, some of them are still on ( Northern Eire , anyone?). It's not for nothing that churches are being bombed in Indonesia, they know first-hand how the scatholics are imperialistic. For centuries, Britain rightfully discriminated against scatholics for very good reasons, as the scatholic church was undermining profoundly the basis of the british state, that is, every rich man should keep his wealth to himself alone, whereas scatholics countries are on a lower level of economic development because the scatholic church leeches up so many ressources.

    Some years ago, in Canada, a convent of scatholic nuns (I'm talking nuns, here, not a bunch of greedy stock market sharks) was swindled of $85 million by a commercial developper. Now, when something as innocuous-looking as nuns have that much money to spend on a real-estate scam, it makes you wonder what else there is.

    --
    Game over, 2000!

  • Shagging goats? You mean giving them long hair coats????

    --
    Game over, 2000!

  • Hell, if any religion/cult offered me $100 an hour to sit through a brainwashing-style presentation of their dogma, I'd probably go for that too.

    HEhhe me too - if not for the cash at least for the laughs..
  • Can I request RCNet to turn off filtering for me?
    Yes, either when you sign up for service or anytime afterward. We can turn it back on for you anytime you request.
    Aha! That ISP must be operated by jesuits!!!

    --
    Game over, 2000!

  • By the way, all the posts arguing that the Catholic Church is bad are missing the point. The point is that this is precisely what exercise of responsibility ought to be if we're going to avoid legislation.

    I think you are missing the point friend. Life (our time on this rock) wasnt intended to be our 'voting with your dollars' exercise of decision-making. Legislation isnt the issue - neither is this ChurchRun(TM) ISP.. I see that people when given the opportunity to buy cheap ISP service from an oppressive force - the Catholic Church(TM) - what are they to do? choose to not use the Internet because that is the only 'choice they can make with their dollars'?

    I think that any censorship is bad - in all cases... when will the ChurchRun(TM) ISP be considered a normal thing? In time this censorship causes a distorted view of reality (the reality being porn and whateverthehellelse is blocked does really exist). If a specific person chooses to not view porn - its as simple as not typing in "www.playboy.com." So in the end the Church has created an artificial reality of their choosing - it appears to be 'real' to Philippinos. This is a dangerous thing - do we need the Catholic church using its power and money to subsidize a brainwashing program in the Philippines? I for one dont look forward to a future where people are MORE lobotomized by religion than they are now... this ChurchRun(TM) ISP is a imperialist operation of the Catholic Church. Nothing more. God Damn Catholics.

    For the record: Im an atheist and I hold equal contempt for all religion.

    And if you attempt to start in on the "all government is bad" paranoid-asshole-rant-milita-crap I dont want to hear it, governments are no more or less likely to fuck something up... and yes, legislated morals are bad... almost as bad as censorship...
  • Once Gutenburg's printing press was perfected, it was the Church that was the biggest patron. For over 500 years, the most printed book on the planet has been the Bible. This allowed for spreading the word faster and cheaper.
    This is total oxdung. The scatholic church wouldn't have the mass and the bible in any other language than latin until some 40 years ago, just to make sure that the common people couldn't read it except by going through a priest, so that the priests would control the people more.

    One of the protestant Reform cornerstone was that the bible be read by EVERYONE, so it was translated in their languages (german, english, french, dutch). And when everyone read the bible for themselves, it allowed them to see how much they were screwed by the scatholic church, and they started to take their lives into their own hands, this is why protestant countries are more economically developped than scatholic countries (read: "the protestants screw the scatholics").

    --
    Game over, 2000!

  • by Danse ( 1026 )

    First, I admit that no one in the Church is perfect, and that many in the Church have done ungodly acts through the ages. However, as a whole, I do believe that the Church is based on the truth of Jesus Christ, and it's mission is good.

    It's amazing to me that the murder of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people over the centuries by the Church can be dismissed so easily. Doesn't the commandment say "Thou shalt not kill?" Did the Church find a loophole in the commandment that allows them to kill those who don't believe the same things that they do? How can people follow a religion that is responsible for so much suffering and death?

  • There will always be holes in it, but these tend to be red herrings.

    Red Herrings? How so? One of Peacefire's goals is to educate people aobut the effects of censorware. Showing them exactly what gets blocked by this stuff seems like a good thing to do. Or are you in favor of people remaining ignorant and letting others decide what they should or should not see?

    Groups such as peacefire use this to push their agenda.

    Sure, but it wouldn't help them if the examples they give weren't so damn good, or if there weren't so very many of them. Admit it. They make an excellent point that filtering software not only works poorly in most cases, but is also abused quite frequently.

  • There have been hypocrites, but why people have a prolem with Christ, a man who had nothing to gain by dying for us of His own will, is really beyond me.

    I don't think I've seen anyone here saying anything against Christ himself. He got killed on a stick. If he was truly the son of God, then he got off easy. Many people die much more horrible deaths for no reason at all. Most people have a problem with the Church, which is largely responsible for thousands upon thousands of horrible deaths. Whatever Christ tried to teach, it obviously didn't get through to the people who lead the church.

  • One more thing...

    Even belief in the separation of Church and State is simply an Atheist faith

    How is that a faith? Is the fact that I think my cat is cute also a faith? What about believing that the chair on the other side of the room is blue? Is that also a faith? Make some sense. Separation of Church and State is not a faith. It's more like an attempt at self-preservation. It's one of the most intelligent decisions that the founders of the United States ever made. I'd rather not have the Church ruling my life just because they believe that some guy who died 2000 years ago was the son of God and they think that they can figure out what the heck the Bible is actually saying (if anything, it rambles quite a bit and it's often tough to figure out what is to be taken literally and what is just God going on a rant).

    The question is this: What is true, what has eternal implications, and what are we willing to do?

    Since the first couple parts of that question can't be answered conclusively (unless God himself decides to make an undisputeable appearance again. Maybe go on Oprah or something), I think that Christians should just believe what they want to believe and leave everyone else the hell alone. Don't try to enforce your morality by making it law. If you believe that looking at porn is wrong, then don't do it. Don't let your kids do it. Don't try to make the decision for the rest of us though. Quit trying to get crap like the CDA passed into law. Quit trying to publicly humiliate and shame people who don't share your beliefs. If other people calling themselves Christian try to do those things, perhaps then you can have a discussion with them about minding their own business. Is it possible to be a good Christian without forcing others to comply with your beliefs? History seems to say no. I hope that's not true.

  • Actually, in most /. stories about censorship, there seems to be a general consensus that censorship should be the responsibility of the individual or parent. I should be the one deciding what I want to see and what I don't want to see. If I'm a parent, then I should be deciding that for my kids as well. Aside from those who believe that all censorship is wrong, we seem to be in general agreement. Jamie makes good and valid points about the fact that censorware makers often deceive their customers about what is blocked and what isn't. It's quite right that they should know what the products really do. Not just what the maker claims they do.

  • Where and how? Please stick to current times; everyone involved in the inquisitions is dead.

    But it showed us that the Church is not above using lies, intimidation, torture and murder to ensure its survival. It showed us that Christians will do what the Church wants them to do, even if it means murdering others. Did the rules of Christianity change sometime after the Inquisition or other atrocities? Did they find some missing pages of the Bible that make it more clear that torture and murder are wrong? Why exactly is the Church to be trusted today? Is it somehow incapable of commiting such acts? Or has it found better ways of enforcing its control?

  • Actually, I think that they (the catholic church) are in favor of violent gaming. The christian churches are long known to support militarist tendencies among their ... sheep. (It's only the ideas that they want pacified.) Many famous (and infamous) generals were "good christians", including the Roman general who wiped out the Nazareens (the original followers of Jesus, who were not also followers of S/Paul).

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Also the Church tends to comply with those silly UN resolutions on Human Rights, and International Law,

    Which decade are you referring to? The Roman Catholic Church has so frequently been caught in violation that I experience a tendency to believe that if, at any particular time, they aren't known to be in violation, it's because they haven't been caught yet. OTOH, the violation of rights isn't (usually) their official position, and that may be an improvement.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • 1) Yes, nobody in the church (or elsewhere) is perfect. This includes the pope. But he has more leverage than most to express his ... imperfections.

    2) The church is and has always been in the business of making money. So is every entity. But the church is more vicious about it than Microsoft, and has had centuries more practice. They nearly invented PR flack. They encourage unselfishness among the individuals that they preach to, not as an organization. Their "services" always come at a very high cost, and they frequently create the original need.

    3) Indulgences. This is vile, but merely a technique. See 2 above.

    4) Crusades. The church being ransacked? That has nothing at all to do with the crusades. The most recent time it might have occured, the church allied with Hitler and Mussolini (great morals, but they survived).
    4a) The exile of the church to France was part and parcel of the church attempting to control the politics in Europe (s.a. christendom) as if it were its own fief. This is ordinary politics in a monarchy.

    4b) The Romans saw the early diciples(sp?) as revolutionary guerillas. They may well have seen themselves the same way. This doesn't have very much to do with the Catholic church, as it has little connection with the original Hebrew group (and in fact, it may have organized to wipe it out with Roman soldiers. See Nazareens, and note the general in charge of the operation.)

    4c) The morals that they preach to their "flock" are designed to make them easy to control. That's the original reason that the Romans eventually decided to accept them, even though they were disrespectful toward the gods that had been maintaining the Roman state (the emperors were quite cynical, and emminently manipulative -- as well as mad [see lead poisoning]). These morals have nothing to do with the practices used by the organization that preachs them (except to provide a contrast).

    5) The Mafia. No information here, but a verbal denunciation that doesn't lead to any action isn't very impressive to me.


    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Some good points, but...
    I don't like censorship, but I don't like atom bombs or bacteriological warfare even more. I'd be in favor of obstacles to the spread of knowledge on how to make and deploy those.
    Sex... that doesn't bother me much. Coercing people to do things bothers me. (This is a bit oversimplified, but that's necessary. Besides, the details of my opinions change with time and my mood.)

    Brainwashing via censorship is milder than the more coercively applied versions (the church is the master of both), but I find it little better as an ethical stance.

    Overall, I guess I feel that the church has the right to operate an ISP (as they see fit), but I am nervous about it because their past history is full of coercive violence and advocacy of extreme censorship and brainwashing (plus torture, etc.). I don't really feel that they are trustworthy. Actually, I'd rather trust Microsoft. And the church has a long history of attempting to surpress it's competitors be fair means and foul. Recently it attempts to not get caught at the foul means, and to disavow it whenever it is caught, but I don't really feel that it has actually changed it's position. It wants to be a monopoly, and sees nothing wrong in doing whatever is necessary to achieve that goal. It merely has a different core business than MS does.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • If what you report is correct, then the church is not currently doing anything incorrect.

    Their history does not encourage me to believe that this will continue. It rather encourages the belief that they are attempting to acquire a total monopoly over the ISP business before imposing their "revisions to the service contract". I would be very glad if this were incorrect, but it will likely require a few decades to determine this (unless, of course, it is correct, in which case it may be determined much sooner).

    Then there is the question of what will happen when the next pope / bishop/ whoever-decides-the-policy takes over.


    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Nitpicking doesn't change the point. They have a history of being untrustworthy. And some people have even lived long enough to report it.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • You're confusing us Catholics with the Southern Baptists. The Southern Baptists are the ones who say that members of all other religions are going to Hell. The Catholics merely believe that members of all other religions are misguided.

    The Catholic Church is a rather schitzo institution. On the one hand, it has a long history of intellectual thought (go to your local library and look at volumes of "The Catholic Encyclopedia" for examples of that intellectual thought). On the other hand, it also has a long history of suppression of intellectual thought that is viewed as incompatible with the Catholic faith. How to reconcile those two views of the Catholic church -- our history of intellectual thought vs. tolerance of ideas that seem anti-Catholic -- has long been a issue within the Catholic community. Even today, it is a current and active issue within the Catholic community, especially at U.S. Catholic universities.

    All in all, I must say that I prefer a religion that is willing to debate such issues to one that says that all intellectual thought and discussion about moral issues is a waste of time (such as, e.g., the Southern Baptists, which bluntly state that all you need is faith and the words of the Bible and forget all that intellectual stuff).

    [Note: I had a somewhat schitzo religious upbringing. Summers were spent with my Southern Baptist grandparents, Vacation Bible School, etc., winters were Catholic school and catechism... so my compare/contrast, while perhaps not fair to the Baptists, certainly does reflect personal experience.]

    -E

  • So who do you think bought those bibles? It wasn't the church. It was the laity, who suddenly began questioning the clergy's role as a kind of supernatural IS department. From what I've read of the period, historians seem to agree that the increased availability of the Bible led to decreased dependence on the church as the source of religious insight, and thus to the breakaway of the Protestant and Calvinist sects.

    __________________

  • > Once Gutenburg's printing press was perfected, it was the Church that was the biggest patron.

    I thought he built it to press counterfeit Bills of Indulgence.

    --
  • > If you believe that you can prove without a doubt that there is no God, I (and the rest of the world) are all ears my friend.

    No, but two fundamental lemmata were proven long ago:
    Lemma 1. If He is God then he is not Good.
    Lemma 2. If He is Good, then he is not God.
    Both are easily established by observation. With that much in hand, the higher theorem becomes irrelevant. And yet you (and much of the rest of the world) are still holding out, for some unfathomable reason.

    --
  • > they could prove you wrong by having the Pope himself do the filtering. The Pope is infallible

    But alas, probably prone to heart failure if suddenly exposed to masses of pÔrn at his current age.

    Infallible, but not indestructable.

    --
  • > God doesn't condemn you; you do that to yourself. God's there to save you from yourself.

    Him being omnipotent and all, why does he need my collusion? Why can't he just do like Batman and snatch me from the flaming wreck?

    Even lifeguards lean to pop you in the jaw if you struggle too much while they're trying to save you.

    If you look at Christian theology even casually, you discover a lot of logical contradictions. The relevant one here is that Bog is supposedly omnipotent, and yet there is some Law of Nature (or whatever) that even he can't bend, so that he sadly has to condemn you to eternal punishment, however much he would like to save you.

    If he isn't the Ultimate Power (tm) in the universe, you should cut out the middle man and worship someone higher up the ladder, who can cut through all the red tape if he really loves you.

    --
  • The Catholic Church IS a government, silly. Its called the Vatican, (or, alternately the Holy See). It is a Monarchy, ruled by one of Europe's last remaining Absoulte Monarchs, the Pope. They have military, the Swiss Guards. The Pope also bestows titles, Everything from Monsignor to Cardinal for priests, and from Chevalier to Duke for good catholic lay-people. The Vatican has Embassies in every country in the world, primarily Catholic, or otherwise. The Pope has a palace in the Vatican, and a summer Castle outside city limits, which is considered part of the Vatican's territory.

    Its a small country ruled by a theological absolute monarchy, but it IS a Government.

    That said, who gives a damn, anyway, the Pope wants to let poor Filipinos (and Central Americans, too) to access the internet on the collection-plate dollar (and they have Billions of those dollars) then go ahead, its better than not accessing the internet at all.

    PORN IS NOT INFORMATION. IT IS NOT CENSORSHIP TO BLOCK PORN. Its not like they are blocking political views of people. Besides, should we really be surprised that the Catholic Church is trying to force their ideals on people? They've been doing this for 2001 years now.

    Now, please tear my arguments apart and moderate me down.
  • Actually, for a long time being literate was equated with knowling Latin. Other languages were considered either barbaric or degenerate forms of Latin. (The original meaning of "Deutch" was "Ordinary Speech". I find it very striking that this attitude extended long after Latin ceased being a living language -- but then, if Latin has survived, it wouldn't have such a "pure" reputation!) I think the printing of the Bible and other books in "vulgar" languages was actually a direct result of the invention of moveable type.

    __________________

  • Yes, but even some of them seem to have forgotten their history. They still seem to regard the Pope as being one step down from God. In addition, they are taking the same path as the Catholic Church did in their attempts to enforce their beliefs on others. Sure, they don't actually kill people for it right now (or at least they don't take credit for it when their members do). They do certainly try to twist the arms of politicians by labeling them as immoral or unethical if they don't support legislation that is blatantly unconstitutional like the CDA. Get enough of that sort of crap passed into law and I bet texas will be the first state to execute someone for distributing pornography via their website. Sounds like a joke right now, but things don't usually stay the same for very long. All we need is a couple of Columbine-equivalents dealing with porn instead of guns and the politicians will be fighting each other to see who can introduce the most draconian anti-porn legislation.

  • As I stated before, that Church (everyone in it) has long since died. All those attributes you mention are human attributes not an organization's. When you are talking about different people, different attributes come into play.

    Yes, they're all dead, and replaced by those who followed in their footsteps. They adhere to the same religion. That adherence did not prevent the Church from committing atrocities then, why should it now? Why are Christians now better than Christians then? Did the rules change?

    I did not state they should be trusted, but I do not care to hear arguments about people who died several hundred years ago when we are discussing entirely different people born much later.

    Well, I certainly don't trust them. They used their religion to justify murdering people. That religion hasn't changed, and I see no reason to ever trust people who try to make others behave according to rules that they accept on faith alone. The Church does this to this day.

    Or maybe those bad individuals are dead and the ones in charge of the Church do not need to be in control of others?

    That's a joke, right? The Church EXISTS TO CONTROL. That's its entire purpose. To get people to adhere to its standards and rules. By whatever means necessary. They have learned to use shame and ostracism quite effectively since killing people in any significant quantity has become counter-productive. Since there are a large number of Christians in the US, they are able to exert quite a lot of influence. Since they've managed to work their way into our laws more and more, they are able to alienate and play the people against each other. If you go to school and admit that you don't believe in God, you will likely be shunned and/or attacked by all those good Christian children. I've seen it happen in two of the highschools I went to. It's a religion that seems to preach conformance above tolerance and acceptance. That's dangerous and creates an environment of conflict.

    Personally, I'm tired of seeing laws passed that are basically personal favors to the Church. These morality laws violate the separation of church and state. For example, in the city I live in, it is illegal to buy alcohol before noon on a Sunday. Why do you think that is? Who do you think wanted that law? Why should those of us who don't attend church or follow any religion in particular be made subject to such laws? Because religious people feel the need to make others conform to their own beliefs, plain and simple (and I'm talking mainly about Christianity and Islam here as they're the prime offenders, there are many religions that aren't like this, but I'd be wary of letting a Christian know you follow one). I'd rather they do what they believe is right for themselves and their children and leave the rest of us alone.

  • Yes, they're all dead, and replaced by those who followed in their footsteps.

    Therefore Lincoln and Clinton are the same? Not hardly.

    They adhere to the same religion.

    They both adhere to the Constitution, but I see many differences between the two.

    That adherence did not prevent the Church from committing atrocities then, why should it now? Why are Christians now better than Christians then? Did the rules change?

    The rules did not change. They were never supposed to be cruel in the first place. The people changed (replaced through the years).

    Well, I certainly don't trust them. They used their religion to justify murdering people. That religion hasn't changed, and I see no reason to ever trust people who try to make others behave according to rules that they accept on faith alone. The Church does this to this day.

    Anyone (individual) can justify doing something wrong based on something else, but it still does not make it right. "Depends on what the definition of 'is' is." The Christian religion does not say "Thou shall torture in the name of Christ." They mangled some rules to justify their OWN ends, but it still went against the Church's beliefs and rules.

    Look at the highlighted portion. In your own words, you recognize that those involved are individuals. The Church did not do it; the people in charge did it.

    That's a joke, right? The Church EXISTS TO CONTROL. That's its entire purpose.

    No joke. The purpose of the Church, at least today, is more of a standards board (i.e., IEEE). Setting down guidelines seems to be the most apparent thing it does. I don't have to follow a standards board; I choose to. No control of me involved.

    To get people to adhere to its standards and rules. By whatever means necessary.

    I guess you will start distrusting IEEE soon. IEEE will want to control JAVA and will use any means necessary to do it.

    They have learned to use shame and ostracism quite effectively since killing people in any significant quantity has become counter-productive.

    FUD. You were probably thinking about Microsoft. :)

    Since there are a large number of Christians in the US, they are able to exert quite a lot of influence.

    You do realize that there is a Catholic Church and a U.S. Catholic Church. Besides, Catholicism is a minority even among the Christian churches in the U.S. I believe the Protestant Church is the largest in the U.S.

    Since they've managed to work their way into our laws more and more, they are able to alienate and play the people against each other. If you go to school and admit that you don't believe in God, you will likely be shunned and/or attacked by all those good Christian children.

    I was beat up in a public school as well as a Catholic school while being a good Catholic. Like the bad people involved in the Inquisition, those children are rewriting the rules to justify the ends.

    I've seen it happen in two of the highschools I went to.

    I was shunned or beat on at more schools than that. It may have nothing to do with religion. It was more likely an excuse to beat-up the new kid. I went to eight or nine schools before college. Most of those I was beat on without anyone knowing my religion.

    It's a religion that seems to preach conformance above tolerance and acceptance.

    Many priests push the following message: "Love the sinner, not the sin." I don't have accept something I don't believe in, but I should still not hold anything against the person.

    I have not seen any cases of where churches have "managed to work their way into our laws more and more". I do see many fanatics attacking religion. Heck, they are even trying to prevent a school from singing "Jingle Bells" on religious grounds. When did "Jingle Bells" become religious?!?

    Personally, I'm tired of seeing laws passed that are basically personal favors to the Church.

    Incorrect! Christians may VOTE for something, but the Church had NO say in it.

    These morality laws violate the separation of church and state.

    Should we allow murder or theft just because a religion is against it? Many laws are written on morals. That is a fact of life.

    For example, in the city I live in, it is illegal to buy alcohol before noon on a Sunday. Why do you think that is?

    Before noon? I have lived in places that do not sell alcohol on Sundays. Maybe many religious people voted on the law, so there would be alcohol left to buy after that got out of church.

    Who do you think wanted that law?

    I guess a majority of people in that region wanted it. That is probably why it was passed into law.

    Why should those of us who don't attend church or follow any religion in particular be made subject to such laws?

    Are you saying that a minority group of people should rule and overturn the majority? That is not very democratic.

    Because religious people feel the need to make others conform to their own beliefs, plain and simple...

    Now I have to ask if you are joking or not. All people regardless of religion, sex, age, race, or sexual preference want others to believe what they believe. I don't believe in abortion, but there are pro-choicers who want to shove their belief down my throat.

    I'd rather they do what they believe is right for themselves and their children and leave the rest of us alone.

    Actually, when I think about it, I have not heard from a single Catholic that we are not allowed to drink on Sunday. Of course, I am Irish, so drinking comes naturally for most of my family. :) I bet the alcohol-free Sunday was written and voted on by another religion.

    This must be asked: how do you know it was even a religious moral the law was based? There could have been some other reason. I love fortunes. Here is one from my FreeBSD box: "Atlanta makes it against the law to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp." Here is another one: "In Corning, Iowa, it's a misdemeanor for a man to ask his wife to ride in any motor vehicle." Which religious morals are these laws based on?

    There is one thing I have to point out. When a law in the U.S. is made that is for or seemingly for a religious moral, the Church had nothing to do with it. Religious people, yes. The Church or any church, no. Separation of Church and State means that any church cannot make laws. But people belonging to any church can vote on a law using their own beliefs as do those who are atheist. I am sure you are thinking that a church could influence people to vote a certain way. Yes, it can along with all those other groups with different beliefs. If you ban churches, you better ban NOW, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, and many other PAC's as they are just as bad (or worse).

    BTW, for a church so set on control, my priest married me and my wife without a hitch. She is not Catholic or even Christian. She is more of an agnostic. This is one of the reasons I don't understand where all this fear of the Catholic Church comes from. Maybe during the time of the Spanish Inquisition I would have been tortured for this. Today, it is not even close.
  • They both adhere to the Constitution, but I see many differences between the two.

    They belong to different political parties. Perhaps that is like the difference between being Methodist or Baptist.

    They mangled some rules to justify their OWN ends, but it still went against the Church's beliefs and rules.

    This is exactly what I'm saying. They were the Church leaders. They WERE the Church. They decided what the Church's beliefs were. People believed what they said. People blindly followed them and set out to murder others. That's one of the biggest problems with many "people of faith." They are taught not to question things. They do as they are told. Sure, not all of them. But at least the majority.

    Anyone (individual) can justify doing something wrong based on something else, but it still does not make it right. "Depends on what the definition of 'is' is." The Christian religion does not say "Thou shall torture in the name of Christ." They mangled some rules to justify their OWN ends, but it still went against the Church's beliefs and rules.

    We're not talking about an individual. We're talking about the leaders of the Church defining the beliefs of millions. That's a lot of power. I find it frightening that they were able to persuade their followers to murder and torture people even though it directly contradicts one of the Commandments, supposedly the direct orders of God. Hell, people used to gather in great crowds to watch someone be burned for being a heretic.

    No joke. The purpose of the Church, at least today, is more of a standards board (i.e., IEEE). Setting down guidelines seems to be the most apparent thing it does. I don't have to follow a standards board; I choose to. No control of me involved.

    You are blind if you believe that. The Church throws its weight around all the time. Look at the abortion issue. Does the Church just lay down the rules for its followers and leave it at that? Hell no. They pressure and attack politicians. They try to get laws passed that bind EVERYBODY. Not just the followers of that faith. Same thing with other "morality issues."

    I guess you will start distrusting IEEE soon. IEEE will want to control JAVA and will use any means necessary to do it.

    No, the IEEE won't lobby or pressure politicians to pass laws forcing me to use their JAVA standard for any programming I do.

    FUD. You were probably thinking about Microsoft. :)

    No, I'm quite certain I was talking about the Church. If you think it's FUD, then tell me why you think the Church doesn't use shame and ostracism as tools to coerce people into behaving the way it wants them to.

    You do realize that there is a Catholic Church and a U.S. Catholic Church. Besides, Catholicism is a minority even among the Christian churches in the U.S. I believe the Protestant Church is the largest in the U.S.

    They're all just variations on the Christian religion. Some are more tolerant and less strict than others, but they're fundamentally quite similar. I've been to Catholic, Methodist and Baptist churches, as well as a couple other oddball denominations that I can't recall the names of now. They were all very much the same aside from the Catholic penchant for chants and ritual. I've also been to a Jehova's Witness Hall. They seem to follow a strictly by-the-book view of Christianity. Very humble and sincere from what I can see. They avoid politics as much as possible. If it weren't for the fact that they feel compelled to try to get everyone and their dog to become Witnesses (and possibly even in spite of it), they'd probably be one of the better and most trustworthy religions out there.

    Like the bad people involved in the Inquisition, those children are rewriting the rules to justify the ends.

    Actually, they probably learn from the example of their parents and other members of their church. Non-Christians are gonna burn in hell, remember? Gay people are abominations. Jewish people killed Jesus, etc. Sure, maybe only a few vocal Christians claim these things, but they have large followings of other Christians that believe them and hold the same feelings.

    It was more likely an excuse to beat-up the new kid. I went to eight or nine schools before college. Most of those I was beat on without anyone knowing my religion.

    It was basically like a mini-inquisition. They would get asked if they believe in God. Say no and get a beating. Makes you wonder if the Church was run for centuries by 16 year olds. Yeah, it was probably just an excuse. Just seems strange that that excuse seemed the most acceptable to them.

    Many priests push the following message: "Love the sinner, not the sin." I don't have accept something I don't believe in, but I should still not hold anything against the person.

    There are a lot that preach intollerance as well. And they have a whole lot of followers. Some Christians seem to think that it is their duty to enforce what they think is God's will. That's why doctors who perform abortions live in constant fear. That why gay guys get beaten and killed. Christians just can't leave other people alone. Just yesterday a Christian group was proclaiming that they were going to videotape customers entering a legal brothel and put their images on the Internet for all to see. All I can say is WTF!? Why is this any of their business? Nobody is making them go there. Nobody is making them do anything they don't want to do. Why can't they leave other people alone???

    I guess a majority of people in that region wanted it. That is probably why it was passed into law.

    Right. The majority are Christians. And being Christians, they should simply be able to tell their members not to purchase alcohol before noon on a Sunday, right? But no, that isn't enough for them. See, they don't just want to guide church members, they want to control everyone. Therefore instead of just instructing the church members that it's wrong, they seek legislation to prevent ANYONE from doing it, regardless of their religion.

    Are you saying that a minority group of people should rule and overturn the majority? That is not very democratic.

    No, I'm saying that there is supposed to be a separation of church and state so that the members of the majority religion cannot force others by law to adhere to their religious beliefs. If they can't provide some reason for the law other than "it's immoral or indecent to let people do that," then it shouldn't be a law. Unfortunately, since Christians are the majority by a fairly wide margin in the US, they've taken it upon themselves to ignore the Constitution when it gets in the way of imposing their religious beliefs on others.

    Now I have to ask if you are joking or not. All people regardless of religion, sex, age, race, or sexual preference want others to believe what they believe.

    Why doesn't it surprise me that you believe that? It's just another way for Christians to justify their attempts to enforce their religious beliefs on others. I don't really care what other people believe as long as they don't interfere with my right to behave as I choose without a good reason. "Because God said so" is not a good reason. "Because it's indecent" is not a good reason. "Because it's offensive" is not a good reason.

    I don't believe in abortion, but there are pro-choicers who want to shove their belief down my throat.

    Wrong. They're not forcing you to get an abortion if you don't want one. They're just making it possible for people to decide for themselves. Christians don't like this. They want to force everyone to conform to their views by making it illegal to do otherwise.

    I bet the alcohol-free Sunday was written and voted on by another religion.

    Regardless of which religion voted on it, it was a Christian religion and it's typical of their attempts to control others no matter what religion they might be.

    There could have been some other reason. **snip** Which religious morals are these laws based on?

    I never claimed that every law was passed for a religious reason. I claimed that Sunday alcohol sales ban was passed based on religion. I was told this by the manager of a store that I worked for that sold alcohol. He remembered the law being passed. Made sense, why else would you ban alcohol sales before noon on Sunday?

    Separation of Church and State means that any church cannot make laws.

    Separation of Church and State was intended to prevent the Church from running the State. But since one religion makes up the vast majority of the country, they've been trying to get rid of the pesky separation of Church and State. They think it's ok to alienate non-Christian kids by having teachers lead prayers in their classrooms. (this can easily lead to the beatings I talked about earlier) They think it's ok to post religious documents in the schools. They wouldn't agree to post documents from minority religions though, especially those that believe in multiple gods.

    But people belonging to any church can vote on a law using their own beliefs as do those who are atheist.

    The problem is not the voting. The problem is the fact that the laws should have to pass a litmus test to determine whether they are based on reason or faith. If you can't give a good reason for something without resorting to religion or vague notions of what's "decent," then the law should not even be voted on. That gives us crap like the Communications Decency Act that would restrict the freedom of all Americans to view or write things that the majority do not like. The US is not a pure democracy. It's a republic. Tyrrany of the majority is not supposed to happen anymore than tyrrany of the minority. Blacks are a minority. Does that mean it's ok to vote to have them enslaved again? No, because you are violating their personal rights. Just like the CDA would have violated the rights of all Americans.

    If you ban churches, you better ban NOW, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, and many other PAC's as they are just as bad (or worse).

    They are nothing of the sort (well, not sure about Greenpeace as I don't know much about them). They are the ones fighting against the majority trying to take away the rights of the minority. Planned Parenthood tries to prevent the government from dictating to us what we can or cannot do with our bodies. They aren't forcing you to do anything at all. It's the Christian majority that try to ban things that don't jive with their religious beliefs. Organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood are the last line of defense for the minority against having their rights taken away by the majority. You can have your religion and you can abide by your beliefs. Just STOP trying to FORCE the rest of us to abide by YOUR beliefs! THAT is where the fear of all churches comes from.

  • Clinton changed the rules to fit his own needs.

    What rule did he change?

    They might have been the Church, but they did not change the rules others had to follow.

    Sure they did. They told everyone that the Church supported the burning of heretics among other things. Maybe you believe that there is some higher law that binds Christians, but their faith is only as good as their understanding of the Bible. Most people rely on the Church to interpret what it really means. That gives the Church great power to influence them.

    Well, the priests I have spoken with encourage questions. A blind belief is not healthy.

    All religion is blind belief. You can't prove any of it. That's why it's called faith. The ministers I've talked to always make circular arguments and end up coming down to the fact that you just have to accept the Bible as the truth if any of it is to make sense. That doesn't really answer any real questions since you can't prove that the Bible is true.

    Sociology: mob theory. You have no idea if those people were religious or not. Or of what religion if they were.

    Heh. My instincts tell me they were probably Catholic, if only because they were afraid not to be.

    They explicitly keep the Church out of the conflict. They might state their stance, but they do not go after a single politician.

    They can't give money to support or attack politicians, but they can and do encourage their members to do so. The leaders and members ARE the church. Perhaps the church as an entity can't support or attack, but all the members can, which amounts to the same thing.

    For the same reason as above, the Church avoids doing any pushing around of politicians. Their non-profit status, for example, would dissappear.

    You're just playing at semantics here. Regardless of what the fictional non-profit entity of the church does, the church is really composed of the leaders and members. I'm talking about the Christian religion itself. Christians constantly look for ways to impose their beliefs on EVERYBODY regardless of whether they are Christian or not.

    Unlike the ACLU, they are unable to force people from attending brothels. Therefore, I assume they are using the only legal means they have which is shame. The brothel could be a source of problems within the community they live in. Also, look at what they are doing. They are doing no harm nor preventing people from going. They are just taking pictures and posting them. I am sure the ACLU will take away their rights to take pictures soon enough although it is perfectly legal. If someone took pictures of me going to church, I would not care. Why should the people going to brothel feel any different?

    Actually it's the same kind of harassment that cause the courts to impose the boundaries around clinics that perform abortions. You argued earlier that if people vote for it then it is the will of the people and I should accept that. Now you argue that even though these brothels were established legally by the government of that state and city, Christian groups should not accept it and should harrass the customers. I would not argue that the law should simply be accepted all the time. I would however say that if you're going to oppose the law, it shouldn't be on the basis of your religion, which is the reason that this particular group was doing it. They came right out and said that. That's why I am saying that Christians try to enforce their religion on others and take away other people's rights.

    They have gone to attacking a private organization, the Boy Scouts, just because they have a rule WITHIN the group which has not affect on others or the community.

    I have heard about this and my first reaction was to disagree with what the ACLU did in that case, but I don't have all the facts either. I think that as long as the Boy Scouts receive absolutely no funding from any government entity, they should be able to make their own rules. I don't know for sure that they don't receive government funding at any level, so I'm not sure if the ACLU was right or wrong in this case.

    If someone took pictures of me going to church, I would not care. Why should the people going to brothel feel any different?

    They shouldn't have to feel different, but like I said, most people are Christian, or have to deal with Christians and therefore have to keep up appearances for the sake of such relationships. While Christians may preach things like "love the sinner, not the sin," etc. They rarely practice what they preach and therefore if someone is known as a customer of a brothel, they'll likely be shunned by Christians and quite possibly lose their job, have a tough time getting a loan, have others refuse to do business with them, etc. Yes, much of this falls under free association and is protected, but much of it is regulated and is supposed to be non-discriminatory, which is often a farce when it is another Christian deciding what constitutes discrimination.

    Laws against stealing were probably based on religion.

    Laws against stealing make sense regardless of religion and some form of such laws most likely pre-date most religions. It's about protecting a person's liberty. (more on this later)

    It was not enough to tell church members not to steal, but they had to prevent anyone from doing it, regardless of their religion.

    Ok, now use that logic to explain bans on oral sex and other similar "morality" or "decency" laws. Why exactly was it necessary to prevent ANYONE from doing it?

    My reasons are biological as well as religious.

    The biological reasons probably have some merit. The religious reasons do not since there is no real evidence to back them up, and therefore no law should be made just because you "believe" that something is true. The burden of proof is on you.

    I am also against executions. I must say that partial-birth abortions are just plain sick. Just try to execute someone by sucking his brains out. Not even the ACLU would support that.

    For the record, I am against executions as well. I don't even recall the ACLU supporting ANY kind of execution. I support a woman's right to choose when it comes to early-term abortions. I think her body belongs to her and if she does not want to carry a child she should not be forced to do so. Admitedly, late-term abortions don't sit well with me either, but I would need to learn more about fetal development before I could form an opinion of exactly when an abortion is ok and when it is not. Most abortions are not so-called "partial birth" abortions. Most are done quite early in the pregnancy when the fetus has barely begun to form. It ends up being a judgement call, and as long as the decision is based on sound facts and science, I don't think I'll have a problem with the decision.

    Till noon just does not make sense.

    Sure it does. The vast majority of church services are over by noon. That was probably the best they were able to push through before it began to cost too much and generate too much opposition.

    This almost convinces me that atheism should be considered a religion and treated as such.

    You're overlooking one really big difference. People who are not members of a major religion usually have to fight to keep their rights from being taken away by those who are members of a major religion. They aren't the ones taking people's rights away, they are the ones trying to limit how much the majority can take away from the minority.

    I come from Indiana. A fairly relgious state.

    I live in Texas, apparently an even more religious state. They bring people out to lead prayers at football games and other school events. Teachers, especially in elementary schools, used to lead the classes in prayer in the morning before they started their work. They can't do that anymore thankfully, but they still got away with the prayers at school sporting events and such. There was recently a big lawsuit about it, but I think it's still being appealed. This might strike you as being a case of the minority taking rights away from the majority, but it's not. It is simply enforcing the separation of church and state that has been seriously eroded. Public schools should not be supporting any particular religion or group of religions. It's simply not fair to the students.

    Saying something is your and not their property is just a matter of opinion.

    Actually it's a very pragmatic decision. Religion and decency have no real part in it, they simply helped to enforce the law by putting "the fear of God" into the masses. Law's against stealing help to ensure economic stability and security. If they did not exist, then we would have anarchy, which does not promote economic growth or a better standard of living.

    I was against the CDA.

    Wow, that's at least 2 things we've agreed on... we're on a roll :)

    By using tax money to lobby Congress.

    If you can tell me where to find more information about this, I'd love to see it. Not sure how they would be able to do this unless there is a glaring loophole in the law somewhere. I don't know how they are regulated, or what sort of status they have, but it would be interesting to read about.

    Abortion will only become more acceptable when the child is asked whether it wants to live or die. Until then, it is not being given a choice.

    Again, I haven't studied fetal development, so I only know what I learned in high school. Perhaps there is some point at which you can say that the fetus becomes a person, but I don't know what that point is. Until that can be figured out, I think the woman has the right to determine the fate of her own body, and certainly has a right to an abortion if her life is in danger. This is a very complicated issue and requires a lot of study and thought. I am truly not qualified to make the decision, I just know what guidelines I would use if I were able to get ahold of all the information I'd need.

    Who is to say their BELIEFS are correct? Why should their beliefs be written into laws?

    You're distorting things here. The ACLU and others spend most of their time fighting things that are already written into law or are about to be. Listen carefully to what I'm saying. In the absence of law, we can do whatever we want. There are very logical arguments in favor of many, if not most laws. The burden of proof is on the people that want to create the law to support it with facts and reason. When laws are created that are based on what someone thinks is moral, without any good facts or reason to back it up, then that person or group is imposing their personal beliefs on everyone. That's why things like the CDA are bad. That's why things like banning oral sex are bad. It also creates the potential for selective and discriminatory enforcement. These are huge reasons why such laws should not be allowed and why the ACLU is so necessary to our country. They help get rid of bad laws and return us to the status quo where you can decide for yourself to do what you believe is right and so can I. If I want to go to a brothel, I can do so. If you find brothels offensive, that's fine too. Nobody will force you to go to one.

    If some students want to pray, the ACLU has no right or reason to stop them, but they continue to attack those with opposing beliefs.

    Give me a break. Nobody is saying that students can't pray in school. Just that you can't have people leading prayers in class or at school events since this would entail the supporting of a particular religion or group of religions in a public school. It can alienate non-Christian students and make them feel pressure to conform to the majority or possibly draw attention the fact that they aren't Christian. That's just something that students shouldn't have to deal with at school. If a kid wants to pray on his own time, that's his business and should be perfectly legal as long as he's not being disruptive. Nobody else should be subjected to one group's religious rituals.

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