Emblematic madness

In case you missed it, a terrific piece by Newton in the Irish News, courtesy of Nuzhound.

For administrative purposes, sectarianism is now entirely in the eye of the beholder. If you feel like a victim, then you are a victim. In addition, if anyone else feels that you might feel like a victim they may take pre-emptive offence on your behalf.

  • joeCanuck

    Right up there with the sectarian song singing parrot. True insanity.

  • Seceder

    Amazing how our previous insanity – well known but still promoted – is now inecting everyday life.

    There is no human right “not to be offended” – people have no right to be deliberately offensive and we should deal with them – but this madness of “I find that offensive it must go” is crazy.

    The Equality/human rights agenda must change. Deliberate or obvious intent to offend must become the yard stick by which behaviour should be judged.

    Normal, honest support for a football team rangers/celtic/Antrim/Armagh should be tolerated unless the sole reason for the displays is to offend. Likewise, religious sentiment, wearin g of poopies, Easter Lillies and shamrock we must move the burden of proof.

    Otherwise we will spial further out of control into a sterile community without any normal social/cultural/sporting or political displays.

    for our soicety to mature we need to tolerate – to tolerate we must be willing to accept things we don’t like!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Seceder: “There is no human right “not to be offended” – people have no right to be deliberately offensive and we should deal with them – but this madness of “I find that offensive it must go” is crazy.”

    Depends on jurisdiction you happen to be in — the whole point of freedom of speech is to protect the right of the unpopular minority to speak their views without threat from the majority. Given the thinness of skins, anything can be stirruped into being “offensive” nowadays.

  • GGN

    I wonder if Newton’s tolerances extend towards public view the Irish language?

    The view of the Equality Commission is that the language is legitamately viewed as offensive by unionists and can be prohibited on that basis.

  • Neil

    In my workplace, which is a very equality driven workplace with many different people from many different backgrounds, I find that things have gone too far. For example, and it’s the common example, but we are discouraged from using the word Christmas in work. It’s supposed to be holidays.

    Two points come out of this for me. One, who honestly thinks that the immigrant contingent in here will actually take offence at our major faith based festivals? This is heading down the road towards the idea that because there are people from other countries coming here, we must remove any suggestion of our own culture (albeit the faith aspects only) from our calendar so to protect their sensibilities. Would an Irish Protestant in Spain expect San Fermin or Semana Santa to be blacklisted language at work, solely because of their presence? And why would anyone go to a country where they might take offence at the culture on display there?

    The second point is in the interests of equality should we be demanding the Muslims pack away their Qur’an in the work place, as I’ve seen these knocking around on people’s desks? And should we be demanding they not mention Ramadan, which I had explained to me by a quite excitable enthusiastic fellow employee? I’d rather not, as I find it fascinating, and as have pointed out above find the idea of being offended by Ramadan no more or less bizarre than the idea of being offended by Christmas.

    Is mutual tolerance so failed a project that we now need to remove all unique cultural and religious language, symbols etc. to the dust bin? We can’t tolerate each other’s symbols, religious expressions etc. so we need to remove them altogether thereby eliminating the need for tolerance as there would be nothing left to tolerate?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Neil: “The second point is in the interests of equality should we be demanding the Muslims pack away their Qur’an in the work place, as I’ve seen these knocking around on people’s desks? And should we be demanding they not mention Ramadan, which I had explained to me by a quite excitable enthusiastic fellow employee?”

    In the sense that all should be equal in the eyes of “the rules,” they should be packed off from the work place — gravy for a goose being gravy for a gander and all that. That said, the same prisses who shriek at crosses and bibles will never find the spine and stones to do so, since Muslims tend to push back harder, as a broad rule, than Christians do.

  • Driftwood

    Dread

    There is no such right as ‘the right not to be offended; indeed, I am deeply offended by the contents of the Koran, with its overt hatred of Christians, Jews, apostates, non-believers, homosexuals but cannot demand its suppression.
    It is time we recognized that those who claim the “right not to be offended” have also announced their hatred of civil society.

    From:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harris/losing-our-spines-to-save_b_100132.html

  • But where do we start and where do we draw the line?

    In case anyone forgets NI is a failed entity in so far as it has maintained the worst elements of the 19th century in sectarianism and intolerance which can’t be found elsewhere in the developed world. Its nearest rival for being infamous would be the former Yugoslavia republics.

    Therefore I don’t think it’s unreasonable, for anyone in authority or in a position of responsibility, to remove an emblem from the workplace.

    I say this as a GAA supporter and guessing that the Airport personal would have only been “too delighted (nudge, nudge)” to remove the flag. The dysfunctional NI society needs to be baby-sat thro the next few decades to bring it up to normalcy by West European standards. Anyone who displays anything which could identify their religion, politics, culture or back-ground should be open to and possibly subject to intervention. I wear my GAA shirts in NI and if anyone said anything reasonable (‘cover it with your jacket’ or ‘next time just wear a blue tee-shirt’) then I should accept what’s said in a mature manner.

    There’s nothing wrong with GAA symbols but in NI they don’t display neutrality in places where bland neutrality should be encouraged. Likewise, hockey clothing, rugby shirts, NI soccer shirts, OO & Mason tie pins & cufflinks etc.

    Having worked abroad in a very multi-cultural society for numerous years, I understand and agree with a company being completely & totally (almost to an excessive degree) objective and void of religious / cultural symbols etc. Religion has been a distinguishing and differencing element used against the people of NI as a basis for division and conquest.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Driftwood: “There is no such right as ‘the right not to be offended; indeed, I am deeply offended by the contents of the Koran, with its overt hatred of Christians, Jews, apostates, non-believers, homosexuals but cannot demand its suppression.”

    Doesn’t figure into the equation in the workplace example — you don’t have free speech in the workplace, per se. That said, if your employer is going to say that employees should not proselytize in the work-place, then that should apply to all employees, not just the ones meek enough to accept the decree. NYC schools, for instance, suppresses Christian and enable Muslims. There has to be one standard in private and semi-private spaces.

    Likewise, I would point out that the Muslims have no problem demanding the suppression for free speech where criticism of Islam is concerned. Politicians, however, lack the stomach to point out the hypocrisy / double standard in this equation.

    Driftwood: “It is time we recognized that those who claim the “right not to be offended” have also announced their hatred of civil society. ”

    What, like Republicans who hate parades?

  • Driftwood

    Dread
    You probably need to read the Sam Harris article in full for context.

    There was a case in America where an infertile woman demanded that other employees remove photos of their children from desks as it upset her. She won.

    Like the saying goes
    I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.

  • fin

    I bet that wee Trevor with the hacksaw gets awful twitchy whenever an Aer Lingus planes lands, what with the Gaeilge and the green and the tricolour and the big shamrock on the tail fin, that big old tail fin just crying out to be hacksawed off with its big old shamrock, er er er er er er

    So why are aeroplanes with overtly political emblems like tricolours, union flags and shamrocks allowed in the workplace at the airport

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Driftwood: “You probably need to read the Sam Harris article in full for context. ”

    Mayhap you should read what I was responding to in Neil’s post and respond to my post in that context, rather than making things up as you go.

    Likewise, the real politik is that the politicians are regularly kow-towing to the Muslim populations, refusing to call a spade a spade, lest the protesters come out and threaten violence in the defense of the religion of peace.

    Driftwood: “There was a case in America where an infertile woman demanded that other employees remove photos of their children from desks as it upset her. She won.”

    I’d like to see a link on that bit of insanity before I believed it.

    That said, that has nothing to do with Islam in the workplace. It also has nothing to do with being offended, but envy and hurt.

    It would, however, prove that old saw that the law is an ass and that the judiciary has lost all grip on the limits of their power.

  • oldruss

    Once again I am at a disadvantage in this discussion as I’m over here in the States, where automobiles display all sorts of bumper stickers, flags, fuzzy dice hanging from rear-view mirrors, bobbing headed dogs in rear windows, etc., etc.

    Quite popular are political bumper stickers, especially at election time, which support one candidate or another; and also “issue” oriented stickers, like, “support life, not abortion”.

    Also popular are stickers that stand for different countries, like “IRE” for Ireland. Popular too are stickers in suppport of different collegiate and professional sports teams, like “Fighting Irish” for the Univ. of Notre Dame, and “GO BLUE” for the Univ. of Michigan, and “JETS” for the N.Y. Jets professional football team.

    Many cars also display Masonic symbols, indicating that the owner is a member of a Masonic Lodge, or display other fraternal organizations’ symbols like that of the Lions Clubs or the Loyal Order of the Moose.

    It would be most queer if those kinds of “free speech”, protected as they are by the First Amendment, were to be banned.

    How are club busses and supporters’ cars, which display FC emblems, handled when they drive up each summer from Dublin or Cork to attend the Milk Cup in Coleraine?

  • Dreadlocks ” NYC schools, for instance, suppresses Christian and enable Muslims. ”

    I’d like to see a link on that bit of insanity before I believed it.

    Drift, (you seem to have mislayed an inverted comma) are you saying that you are “…deeply offended by the contents of the Koran, with its overt hatred of Christians, Jews, apostates, non-believers, homosexuals but cannot demand its suppression. ”

    if so then you are a fundamentalist loon

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Tuppence: “I’d like to see a link on that bit of insanity before I believed it.”

    http://www.crosswalk.com/1376621/

    The judges decided that a creche during Christmas was impermissible, whilst the “secular” crescent and star of Islam were permissible during Eid.

    For the record, either all the symbols are permissible, or none of the symbols are permissible, due to their religious association.

  • Driftwood

    Tuppence. just quoting Sam.
    Fundamentalist???

    Blake’s Law
    Another recurring trope has been Myers’ reaction to the epithet “fundamentalist atheist”, bestowed by some upon him, Dawkins and others who espouse similar views.[19][20][21] Myers writes,
    The “new atheism” (I don’t like that phrase, either) is about taking a core set of principles that have proven themselves powerful and useful in the scientific world — you’ve probably noticed that many of these uppity atheists are coming out of a scientific background — and insisting that they also apply to everything else people do. These principles are a reliance on natural causes and demanding explanations in terms of the real world, with a documentary chain of evidence, that anyone can examine. The virtues are critical thinking, flexibility, openness, verification, and evidence. The sins are dogma, faith, tradition, revelation, superstition, and the supernatural. There is no holy writ, and a central idea is that everything must be open to rational, evidence-based criticism — it’s the opposite of fundamentalism.[22]
    Eventually, Myers summarized his stance by invoking “Blake’s Law”, which he named for the blogger who first codified it. Blake’s Law is an adage that frequent Pharyngula commentator[23] Blake Stacey formulated in 2007, based in concept on Godwin’s Law. The law states:[24]
    In any discussion of atheism (skepticism, etc.), the probability that someone will compare a vocal atheist to religious fundamentalists increases to one.
    As has become the tradition with Godwin’s Law, the person who compares the atheist to a religious fundamentalist is considered to have lost the argument.[25]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharyngula_(blog)

  • Rory Carr

    I hope that this “right not to be offended” can now be extended to avian species at my budgie was hopping mad over this news from an earlier item courtesy of Mick.

    http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/article2550333.ece

    I think the fact that I quite enjoyed it annoyed him even more. Anyway the stupid tuneless little bastard can’t even whistle The Red Flag yet so I suspect it’s just jealousy in his part.

  • eranu

    are people asked to define what the nature of the offence is that they are suffering? Or is all they have to do is say “I find that offensive” perhaps they should have to write a few paragraphs to clearly describe the offence they are suffering as part of the complaint process. im guessing most of the complaints wouldnt be made as alot seem to be down to the complainers own prejudices, rather than something genuinely hurtful.

  • Dread, your link doesn’t work. While I was on the site I did a little bit of browsing and I found the following which I what I guess you’re referring to……

    During this holiday season, America’s largest public school system, New York City, is allowing the Menorah, a symbol of the Jewish faith; and the Star and Crescent, a symbol of Islam, to be displayed in its buildings. Nowhere in those buildings, however, will you find a Nativity scene, symbolic of the Christian faith. The case seems to have been main fought by Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.
    http://www.thomasmore.org/qry/page.taf?id=19&_function=detail&sbtblct_uid1=576

    Judicial Verdict : In their ruling, the Second Circuit Court clarified that the Menorah and Star and Crescent are in fact religious symbols – contrary to the DOE policy. Although the Court did not rule that displaying a Nativity scene would be unconstitutional, its reasoning allowing for the Menorah and Star and Crescent make clear that if the school system wanted to place a crèche in schools, this too would be constitutional. Essentially, the Second Circuit Court left the issue of the crèche up to the school officials.

    MyTuppenceWorth’s verdict: an overenthusiastic Dept of Education errs and won’t allow a Nativity scene or allows non-Christian symbols. Easily corrected altho the courts had to get involved. A mountain made of a mole-hill and Dreaded Culchie refers to the mountain (and references the Catholic League… what next AOH or the Knights of Columbanus).

    Drifty,
    Burke’s Law is related to the sciences and only the sciences therefore you seem to have incorrectly applied it to the non-scientific SluggerOToole threads.

  • Driftwood

    Dread Cthulhu

    The case I referred to was told to us at an employment law briefing. it never went to court because the employer told all concerned to remove all non work-related stuff, photos etc from their desks. As they were entitled to do.
    Whether it was a happy work environment after is neither here nor there. The law and common sense do not cross paths quite frequently.
    HR departments will simply take the path of least resistance.

    If either (or both) Irish football teams make it to the World Cup finals next year, expect this issue to balloon.

  • Driftwood

    Tuppence
    ‘Burkes Law’?? Never liked Gene Barry.

    I think we got mixed up,as I quoted directly from Sam Harris, but Blakes Law applies as in PZ Myers blog.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Tuppence: “an overenthusiastic Dept of Education errs and won’t allow a Nativity scene or allows non-Christian symbols. Easily corrected altho the courts had to get involved. A mountain made of a mole-hill and Dreaded Culchie refers to the mountain (and references the Catholic League… what next AOH or the Knights of Columbanus).”

    Tuppence, your sophomoric antics aside, the fact that the Dept. of Ed and the district court and the original Appeals court decision in 2004 upheld the ban and, at all levels and with a straight face, said that the symbols of the menorah and the crescent and star weren’t religious should be troubling. To be honest, I was unaware the 2nd circuit reversed itself.

    Do try to be a grown up once and again — it might grow on you.

  • Brian Walker

    Before anyone gets completely buried in not-quite parallels and overcomplications, surely the difference between the Moslem/Christian interface and the basically secular state is that people are still feeling their way on that one, in law as in lfe ( see cross necklaces, chadors etc ) : whereas in their hearts, everyone in NI really knows the score out of sheer familiarity. The real threat occurs when any emblem or conduct tips over into deliberate provocation and aggression. I would include all paramilitary flags and slogans at interfaces in that, but would regard all other emblems including national flags in a lower but not entirely exempt category. But you can make it as complicated as you want. The trick surely is not to.

  • Brian Walker

    Before anyone gets completely buried in not-quite parallels and overcomplications, surely the difference between the Moslem/Christian interface and the basically secular state is that people are still feeling their way on that one, in law as in lfe ( see cross necklaces, chadors etc ) : whereas in their hearts, everyone in NI really knows the score out of sheer familiarity. The real threat occurs when any emblem or conduct tips over into deliberate provocation and aggression. I would include all paramilitary flags and slogans at interfaces in that, but would regard all other emblems including national flags in a lower but not entirely exempt category. But you can make it as complicated as you want. The trick surely is not to.

  • Brian Walker

    Before anyone gets completely buried in not-quite parallels and overcomplications, surely the difference between the Moslem/Christian interface and the basically secular state is that people are still feeling their way on that one, in law as in lfe ( see cross necklaces, chadors etc ) : whereas in their hearts, everyone in NI really knows the score out of sheer familiarity. The real threat occurs when any emblem or conduct tips over into deliberate provocation and aggression. I would include all paramilitary flags and slogans at interfaces in that, but would regard all other emblems including national flags in a lower but not entirely exempt category. But you can make it as complicated as you want. The trick surely is not to.

  • Brian Walker

    Sorry, the above failed to submit twice and then went mad, like the folk at Aldergrove.

  • Seceder

    So are we at the point yet to stand shoulder to shoulder with Voltaire

    I don’t agree with what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. – I didn’t think so!

    But until we get out of this morass of political correctness and begin toaccept difference and tolerate each other we will remain locked into the “them and us syndrome”

    I was amazed whle working in Portadown thatwhile members of the OO worked next to members of the Garvaghy road coalition that when Drumcree was whispered priavtely neither side saw their friends and colleagues as part of the problem – they weren’t the real orangemen or the real residents no matter how deeply they were actually involved.

    The denial was incredible – but due to the “neutral working environment” no one believed they could personally admit to what they believed so everyone lived in denial.

    Until the restrictions are lifted and normal social interaction can occur NI is condemned not to mature

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘I am deeply offended by the contents of the Koran, with its overt hatred of Christians, Jews, apostates, non-believers, homosexuals but cannot demand its suppression.’

    There is a fair bit of unsavoury stuff in the holy scripture of other religions too.

  • Serpent

    I disturbing thing in this story and in some of the comments is the assumption that the public / government has the absolute right to say what is appropriate and inappropriate in the workplace. That only should apply to a limited extent, to the prevention of harm, if such exists. This is not Stalinist Russia or corporatist Nazi Germany.

    If one company forbids GAA regalia and another does not that does not mean that something has gone wrong and that it all must be made consistent by a law which says yay or nay to GAA regalia in all companies in the land. An employer and employee enter a private contract of employment. If that says that the company can forbid the flying of GAA regalia on their property by their employees in their work time, even in the company car park, then that’s justification enough. That the government does or doesn’t force them to do it or that Acme Ltd down the road has a different policy is not enough to say that anything is wrong with this scenario.

  • DreadedCulchie ”To be honest, I was unaware the 2nd circuit reversed itself.”

    Get aware
    before posting crap like ….. ” NYC schools, for instance, suppresses Christian and enable Muslims. “

    DC: ”Do try to be a grown up once and again—it might grow on you. “

    Resorting to calling names, my isn’t that mature of you? You learnt that in Constit. Law 101 ?