'Murica

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Witness
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Witness wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:29 am Image

I knew an American expat like that in Japan.

He was more of the "There's no requirement to pay taxes" than the "Traveling != driving" tinfoil hat persuasion, but my ultimate response is the same in both cases:

"Hey, good luck with that."
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Spoiler:
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U.S. Supreme Court weighs scope of police power to enter homes without a warrant

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday appeared reluctant to give police unlimited power to enter a home without a warrant when pursuing a suspect for a minor crime in a case involving a California driver tailed by an officer after honking his horn while listening to music.

The driver, Arthur Lange, was later convicted of driving under the influence after being confronted inside his garage by California highway patrol officer Aaron Weikert in 2016. Lange is seeking to overturn his conviction by arguing that sobriety test evidence in the case was obtained by Weikert in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

The nine justices heard arguments in the case and are due to rule by the end of June. A broad decision finding that any police pursuit, whatever the nature of the suspected offense, justifies a warrantless entry appears unlikely based on comments by the justices.

“It seems ridiculous when your home isn’t your castle for terribly minor things,” liberal Justice Stephen Breyer said.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts raised the example of teenagers fleeing back to their homes after being caught drinking beer in a park as an example of a situation in which warrantless entry would be inappropriate.

“It doesn’t seem to be something that would warrant the officer, you know, breaking into the house,” Roberts said.
...
Lower courts ruled against Lange, deeming the incident a “hot pursuit” that allowed a warrantless entry. The justices potentially could rule that the incident was not a “hot pursuit,” meaning a warrant would have been needed.

Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas referred to it as a “kind of meandering pursuit.”

Such a ruling still could allow police to enter houses without warrants in certain circumstances even if the underlying crime was a misdemeanor.

Lange pleaded no contest to the DUI offense and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation.

The California Court of Appeals in 2019 upheld Lange’s conviction. Lange then asked the Supreme Court to rule that police officers cannot evade the warrant requirement when chasing someone to their home when the underlying conduct constitutes a misdemeanor offense.

Under Supreme Court precedent, officers can enter a home without a warrant when they are in pursuit of a suspected felon.

The issue of police powers has been in the spotlight particularly during protests in many cities last year against police brutality and racism. A broad ruling in favor of police could further expand their powers by widening their ability to enter homes without a warrant after pursuing people suspected of misdemeanor offenses, not just felonies.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKBN2AO2NZ

:freedom:
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Texas power cooperative files for bankruptcy, citing $1.8 billion grid debt

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The largest and oldest electric power cooperative in Texas filed for bankruptcy protection in Houston on Monday, citing a disputed $1.8 billion debt to the state’s grid operator.

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc, which supplies electricity to more than 660,000 consumers across the state, is one of dozens of providers facing enormous charges stemming from a severe cold snap last month. The fallout threatens utilities and power marketers, which collectively face billions of dollars in blackout-related charges, executives said.

Unusually frigid temperatures knocked out nearly half of the state’s power plants in mid-February, leaving 4.3 million people without heat or light for days and bursting water pipes that damaged homes and businesses.

Brazos and others that committed to provide power to the grid - and could not - were required to buy replacement power at high rates and cover other firms’ unpaid fees.

The grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), on Monday said that $2.46 billion in bills went unpaid, underscoring the financial stress on utilities and power marketers. ERCOT acts in part as a clearinghouse, collecting from power buyers and paying those who provide the electrons.

‘LIQUIDITY TRAP’

ERCOT triggered the squeeze when it pushed up spot-market rates to $9,000 per megawatt hour (mwh) over more than four days and levied huge fees for services. The service fees were 500 times the usual rate, industry executives said.

Brazos executive Clifton Karnei, who sat on grid operator ERCOT’s board of directors until last week, told the federal court that Brazos “finds itself caught in a liquidity trap that it cannot solve with its current balance sheet”.

Brazos said ERCOT’s $2.1 billion invoice was nearly three times the cooperative’s power costs for all of 2020. Brazos responded by issuing a notice of force majeure, rejecting the bills, Karnei’s statement said.
https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN2AT1FE?il=0


In other news:
AG sues Texas utility over customers’ sky-high energy bills

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ attorney general said Monday he’s suing electricity provider Griddy for passing along massive bills to its customers during last month’s winter storm.

The lawsuit comes days after Texas’ power grid manager effectively shut down Griddy by revoking its access to the state’s electricity market.

Griddy charges $10 a month to give people a way to pay wholesale prices for electricity instead of a fixed rate. But when temperatures plummeted well below freezing last month, wholesale prices spiked and Griddy customers were left with sky-high electricity bills.

“Griddy misled Texans and signed them up for services which, in a time of crisis, resulted in individual Texans each losing thousands of dollars,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “As Texans struggled to survive this winter storm, Griddy made the suffering even worse as it debited outrageous amounts each day.”

The lawsuit accused Griddy of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and seeks refunds for customers. The unusually heavy winter storm blanketed much of Texas with snow, knocking out electricity to 4 million customers and leaving many struggling to find clean water.

Meanwhile, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, shifted about 10,000 Griddy customers to other utilities on Friday.

Griddy said in a statement that ERCOT “took our members and have effectively shut down Griddy.”
https://apnews.com/article/texas-ag-sue ... 03c9608d83
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State Rep. Sharon Har faces drunken driving penalties she helped write

On the night of Feb. 22, Honolulu police arrested State Rep. Sharon Har (D, Kapolei-Makakilo) for suspicion of drunken driving. She was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, police said.

State Rep. Sharon Har certainly knew the penalties and consequences of drinking and driving when she was arrested the night of Feb. 22 after Honolulu police found her alone in her 2019 Mercedes-Benz, pointed in the head-on direction of one-way traffic traveling on busy South Beretania Street at Piikoi Street.

In March 2007 — 14 years ago — Har survived a horrendous crash on Fort Barrette Road that totaled her Mercedes when a 23-year-old driver with two previous drunken driving cases slammed into her. The other driver was not allowed to be driving and faced a third drunken driving case for the crash.

The collision sent Har to The Queen’s Medical Center and prompted her to lead the effort a year later to create Hawaii’s interlock ignition requirements for drunken drivers — along with other, stiffer changes for drunken driving, technically known as operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, or OVUII.

Har helped shepherd through changes that she herself now faces, including a mandatory revocation of her driver’s license for two years for refusing to take a breath or blood test following her arrest on South Beretania Street.

If she had taken either test, Har would have faced only a one-year revocation of her license when she goes before the state’s Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office, a civil procedure that’s independent from her criminal court case. Har’s next criminal court hearing is scheduled for April 20.
https://www.staradvertiser.com/2021/03/ ... ped-write/
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Spoiler:
When Marvel had the Godzilla Comics franchise. :mrgreen:
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"Who won a second world war you so smart round eye!!!"
You can lead them to knowledge, but you can't make them think.
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Re: 'Murica

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Witness wrote: Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:40 am
Texas power cooperative files for bankruptcy, citing $1.8 billion grid debt
https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN2AT1FE?il=0

In other news:
AG sues Texas utility over customers’ sky-high energy bills

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ attorney general said Monday he’s suing electricity provider Griddy for passing along massive bills to its customers during last month’s winter storm.
. . .

“Griddy misled Texans and signed them up for services which, in a time of crisis, resulted in individual Texans each losing thousands of dollars,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “As Texans struggled to survive this winter storm, Griddy made the suffering even worse as it debited outrageous amounts each day.”

The lawsuit accused Griddy of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and seeks refunds for customers. The unusually heavy winter storm blanketed much of Texas with snow, knocking out electricity to 4 million customers and leaving many struggling to find clean water.
https://apnews.com/article/texas-ag-sue ... 03c9608d83
Maybe, but this is the "free market" they created which was supposed to be so grand. The idea was to let consumers decide. Some opted to pay variable rates. Were they "misled" by deceptive marketing practices or did they gamble that their electric bills would be cheaper if they paid wholesale market rates for electricity?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griddy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deregulat ... ity_market
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Why, do you want to live in Venezuela instead? Those are the only two ways to do things.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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Re: 'Murica

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The Coffee for real Muricans?

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare (probably Socrates originally)
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↑ Hilarious. Not many chicks in all that excitement. They don't drink (this) coffee?







:mrgreen:
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Re: 'Murica

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I honestly don't know any of those products.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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↑ I presume the choices were a bit… oriented.
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Re: 'Murica

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The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.
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Not sure about bald eagles but with red tailed hawks the only time you can be sure of the sexes is thus. Also the female is the big one.
... The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light ... The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. It was a kind of religious experience. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me.
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Fid wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 3:17 am Not sure about bald eagles but with red tailed hawks the only time you can be sure of the sexes is thus. Also the female is the big one.
In French falconry the male falcon is a "tiercelet" (something like "thirdling") as the male is about 2/3 the size of the female.




North Carolina sued to reverse decision to drop license plates with Confederate flag

The North Carolina chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a civil lawsuit on Monday against the state over its decision to stop issuing vehicle license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag.

The state’s Division of Motor Vehicles discontinued the specialty plates in January after more than 20 years of issuance, citing their potential offensive nature.

Frank Powell, a spokesman for the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said officials never discussed the move with the group or suggested any alternatives.

“They just cut us off without warning, after what, 23 years without a problem,’ Powell said.

Representatives for the DMV, which issues a range of specialty plates featuring the logos of clubs and non-profit groups, and the state attorney general’s office were not immediately available for comment.

The battle flag, carried by some soldiers of the Confederacy of Southern states who lost the American Civil War in the 1860s, is now viewed by many as a symbol of the legacy of slavery and racial segregation. But the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and other contemporary Southern groups say it is an emblem of their regional heritage.
https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2B1003?il=0
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The Cherokee Nation acknowledges that descendants of people once enslaved by the tribe should also qualify as Cherokee

Image

A longstanding dispute over who can be considered a citizen of the Cherokee Nation finally came to a conclusion this week.
The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the tribal nation remove the phrase "by blood" from its constitution and other tribal laws. That change formally acknowledges that the descendants of Black people once enslaved by the tribe -- known as the Cherokee Freedmen -- have the right to tribal citizenship, which means they are eligible to run for tribal office and access resources such as tribal health care.
The recent decision by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court is a response to a 2017 ruling by a US district court, which determined that the descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen are entitled to full tribal citizenship rights under a treaty the Cherokee Nation made with the US in 1866.
"Freedmen rights are inherent," Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice Shawna S. Baker wrote in the opinion. "They extend to descendents of Freedmen as a birthright springing from their ancestors' oppression and displacement as people of color recorded and memorialized in Article 9 of the 1866 Treaty."
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/25/us/c ... index.html for details.
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From the ACLU:
A New String of State Bills Could Give Religious Organizations Blanket Immunity from Any Wrongdoing

New legislation in states across the country could shield religious organizations from all civil and criminal liability.

Religious exemptions on steroids: That’s the only way to describe legislation being considered this week by lawmakers in Arizona, South Carolina, and Montana. Under the guise of protecting the ability to worship during emergency disasters, these bills could give religious organizations blanket immunity from all civil and criminal liability — as long as they claim to be exercising their faith while engaging in the unlawful conduct.

Granting religious organizations these broad, unprecedented, and frightening exemptions from the law could result in untold harm for states and communities across the board. For example, passing the bills would mean that:
  • Religious organizations in that state could claim immunity from criminal prosecution and civil liability for the sexual abuse or physical harm of children in connection with religious activities or rituals;
  • Religious organizations could be shielded from the consequences of violating state nondiscrimination laws that conflict with their religious beliefs;
  • Religiously motivated hate groups could avoid prosecution for criminal activities associated with exercising their beliefs; and
  • Patients at religious hospitals could be unable to sue for medically negligent or reckless care that was provided based on the hospital’s religious beliefs.
Religious organizations would even be exempt from more mundane laws. For example, a house of worship that violates fire codes by exceeding capacity limits during religious services could not be fined or otherwise forced to comply with the law.

Exempting religious organizations from nearly every law and shielding them from civil and criminal liability — no matter the harm to others — is the type of religious preference that the U.S. Constitution forbids.

These bills don’t end there, though. Additional provisions would further undermine the separation of church and state and make the government an accomplice to discrimination. For example, the bills could prohibit the state from denying state contracts, licenses, and certifications, as well as tax exemptions based on religious organizations’ exercise of their faith. Under these provisions, the state could be required to give government contracts to groups like the KKK, which claim to be religiously based, or organizations that claim a religious right to discriminate against certain social-services beneficiaries.

The bills also mean that a state could be prevented from recovering public funds used by religious organizations for fraudulent or improper purposes, as long as the funds were used while engaging in religious activities. The state could likewise be precluded from denying a religious day care a license to operate even if the organization’s religious beliefs and practices prevent it from complying with relevant child protection laws. And the state could be forced to approve tax-exempt status for a religious charity that blatantly discriminates and refuses to hire people of color.

These religious exemptions are so unprecedented and radical that it’s not surprising that supporters are hiding them in bills that, at first glance, appear to simply address the right to hold worship services during an emergency.
https://www.aclu.org/news/religious-lib ... rongdoing/ for the rest.

Working on your theocracy, I see. :twisted:
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Re: 'Murica

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Have you read the bill or only what ACLU has to say about it?
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Grammatron wrote: Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:17 pm Have you read the bill or only what ACLU has to say about it?
Bills, plural. Why should I?




Religious Americans Have Less Positive Attitudes Toward Science, but This Does Not Extend to Other Cultures

Abstract

It is commonly claimed that science and religion are logically and psychologically at odds with one another. However, previous studies have mainly examined American samples; therefore, generalizations about antagonism between religion and science may be unwarranted. We examined the correlation between religiosity and attitudes toward science across 11 studies including representative data from 60 countries (N = 66,438), nine convenience samples from the United States (N = 2,160), and a cross-national panel sample from five understudied countries (N = 1,048). Results show that, within the United States, religiosity is consistently associated with lower interest in science topics and activities and less positive explicit and implicit attitudes toward science. However, this relationship is inconsistent around the world, with positive, negative, and null correlations being observed in various countries. Our findings are inconsistent with the idea that science and religion are necessarily at odds, undermining common theories of scientific advancement undermining religion.
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10 ... 0620923239
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Witness wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:45 am
Grammatron wrote: Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:17 pm Have you read the bill or only what ACLU has to say about it?
Bills, plural. Why should I?
To check and see for yourself if the claim(s) that you are repeating are true.
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Re: 'Murica

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Grammatron wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:06 am To check and see for yourself if the claim(s) that you are repeating are true.
Posting ≠ endorsing. I find the ACLU page interesting in itself. But feel free to check & criticize.
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Re: 'Murica

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Witness wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:13 am
Grammatron wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:06 am To check and see for yourself if the claim(s) that you are repeating are true.
Posting ≠ endorsing. I find the ACLU page interesting in itself. But feel free to check & criticize.
I assumed your comment "Working on your theocracy, I see. :twisted:" was a mark of agreement.
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I find it amusing that metaphysics can still be such a hot subject over there. :mrgreen:
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The freedom to practice metaphysics and attacks on it are quite tangible.
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Re: 'Murica

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I would love to see a popehat-style review of the religious liberty bills being proposed. The ACLU has lawyers, of course, but their information would be geared towards advocacy. Important work, IMO, but not necessarily the best baseline for evaluating bills.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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Re: 'Murica

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Witness wrote: Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:47 am From the ACLU:

https://www.aclu.org/news/religious-lib ... rongdoing/ for the rest.

Working on your theocracy, I see. :twisted:
Something seems to be wrong with the link. I just get a spinning circle.
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Re: 'Murica

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Grammatron wrote: Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:17 pm Have you read the bill or only what ACLU has to say about it?
I would like to see, but the link doesn't seem to go to a valid page.
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Re: 'Murica

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Anaxagoras wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:40 pm
Grammatron wrote: Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:17 pm Have you read the bill or only what ACLU has to say about it?
I would like to see, but the link doesn't seem to go to a valid page.
Still works for me but here are direct links to the bills ACLU is concerned about.

HB 2648 in Arizona
HB 3105 in South Carolina
SB 172 in Montana
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Re: 'Murica

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Grammatron wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 6:43 pm
Anaxagoras wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:40 pm
Grammatron wrote: Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:17 pm Have you read the bill or only what ACLU has to say about it?
I would like to see, but the link doesn't seem to go to a valid page.
Still works for me but here are direct links to the bills ACLU is concerned about.

HB 2648 in Arizona
HB 3105 in South Carolina
SB 172 in Montana
Yeah, I'm not seeing the language that provides immunity for the sexual abuse of children as long as it is part of a religious ritual.

I think most courts would probably say that deterring and punishing that sort of thing is "a compelling state interest".

The general idea seems to be that certain activities or actions that would otherwise be illegal are to be allowed as long as they are performed as part of the practice of religion. Here's one real world example, maybe:

Babies' herpes linked to circumcision practice
Two more infants have contracted the herpes virus after undergoing an ultra-Orthodox Jewish type of circumcision, which has been linked to the spread of the potentially deadly virus to newborn boys, according to the New York City Health Department.
In the ritual, known as metzitzah b'peh, after removing the foreskin of the penis the person performing the procedure places his mouth briefly over the wound, sucking a small amount of blood out, which is discarded. Antibacterial ointment is applied and the wound is bandaged. The health department says the procedure is dangerous because the contact with the mouth could transmit diseases such as herpes.
If a medical doctor performed a circumcision that way, he could be sued for malpractice, and even criminally prosecuted, but if a mohel does it, it's considered to be a religious ritual, and thus OK. How far could this sort of thing be taken? If a religion calls for human sacrifices to the gods, do they get to do that?
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Re: 'Murica

Post by Grammatron »

Anaxagoras wrote: Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:11 am
If a medical doctor performed a circumcision that way, he could be sued for malpractice, and even criminally prosecuted, but if a mohel does it, it's considered to be a religious ritual, and thus OK. How far could this sort of thing be taken? If a religion calls for human sacrifices to the gods, do they get to do that?
I think this would help answer your questions. Although it seems to be an understandably, very complex area of law.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherbert_v._Verner

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_scrutiny
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Re: 'Murica

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What I've never quite understood is if any particular thing which is otherwise illegal is allowed for religious reasons, why it should not simply be allowed for all.

Is "This is my religion" operationally different from "because I really want to", if I call my preference a religion and share it with a few people? If I am the only person following a religion, would that disqualify me? Do we want to put the government in a position of deciding what counts as a "real" religion? Do we want to incentivize making religions around practices that there is legitimate reason to restrict?
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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Re: 'Murica

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gnome wrote: Fri Mar 19, 2021 6:55 pm What I've never quite understood is if any particular thing which is otherwise illegal is allowed for religious reasons, why it should not simply be allowed for all.

Is "This is my religion" operationally different from "because I really want to", if I call my preference a religion and share it with a few people? If I am the only person following a religion, would that disqualify me? Do we want to put the government in a position of deciding what counts as a "real" religion? Do we want to incentivize making religions around practices that there is legitimate reason to restrict?
Considering something like wine, it's part of a ceremony in several religions. But, minors are prohibited from buying alcohol; and giving minors alcohol is illegal. Should there not be a religious exception?
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Re: 'Murica

Post by Anaxagoras »

Grammatron wrote: Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:07 pm
gnome wrote: Fri Mar 19, 2021 6:55 pm What I've never quite understood is if any particular thing which is otherwise illegal is allowed for religious reasons, why it should not simply be allowed for all.

Is "This is my religion" operationally different from "because I really want to", if I call my preference a religion and share it with a few people? If I am the only person following a religion, would that disqualify me? Do we want to put the government in a position of deciding what counts as a "real" religion? Do we want to incentivize making religions around practices that there is legitimate reason to restrict?
Considering something like wine, it's part of a ceremony in several religions. But, minors are prohibited from buying alcohol; and giving minors alcohol is illegal. Should there not be a religious exception?
Like communion wine? Isn't that just a small sip? When I was a kid I used to get small sips of beer from my dad. Sometimes at parties I would drink too. Technically that was probably illegal, but nobody seemed to care much at the time. There's often legal gray areas at the edges where it seems like you are allowed to go a bit over the line, as long as you don't go too far over the line. Like, you can usually get away with going 5 mph over the speed limit. In my experience most drivers actually do this, rather than strictly obey the speed limits. I've even heard that police looking for cars that might be transporting drugs will look for cars that are scrupulously obeying the speed limit. But anyway, my point is that giving kids a sip of wine is something that you can seem to do even without claiming that it is a religious rite.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare (probably Socrates originally)
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Re: 'Murica

Post by Witness »

Grammatron wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 6:26 am The freedom to practice metaphysics and attacks on it are quite tangible.
Why do you hate separation of Church and State?
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Re: 'Murica

Post by Witness »

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