Saturday, May 03, 2008

Anti-Christian Bigot in Milwaukee: More

Just a few hours ago, we blogged on the fact that Bill Maher will be coming to Milwaukee on July 24th at the Riverside Theater.

So what’s wrong with that?

In the first place he’s an anti-Christian and generally anti-religious bigot.

But he has First Amendment rights just like everybody else. (Those rights, we note, are not abridged if people demonstrate against him.)

The kicker is: American TV, the local furniture and electronics store is sponsoring him!

They want to sell stuff to Christians -- who after all are the overwhelming majority of the population in Wisconsin. So why are they supporting him?

From Badger Blogger, a suggestion:
Here’s my recommendation for anyone reading this who is truly offended that American would sponsor Maher:

On Monday, call the American TV corporate offices at (608) 271-1000 and ask to speak with company President Doug Ruehl. (Sounds like: “Rule”)

You will be directed to Doug Ruehl’s public relations assistant, who will explain to you that Mr. Ruehl does not accept direct phone calls, but they will offer to arrange a return call to you from Mr. Ruehl.

Explain to him that you are a previous customer, and that you are calling to express your displeasure over American TV’s sponsorship of the Maher appearance, and that you fear that this will prevent you from doing business with American TV and Appliance stores in the future.
A poster at Badger Blogger also pointed out that WKLH Radio is also co-sponsoring Maher. In fact, the performance is advertised on the WKLH website.

They too appear not to mind insulting Christians -- and Muslims too.

The third sponsor is the Shepherd Express. Their core readership is about where Maher is, so it’s no surprise.

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19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does it matter who American TV or WKLH sponsors? The 1st amendment extends to them too. They can sponsor whomever they please, just as they did.

If you don't like Bill Maher--admittedly, I'm not too fond of him myself--don't watch his show. Don't go see his performance. Its as simple as that. Just because these businesses provide goods and services to the public does not mean they can only align themselves with pro-religious groups. Maher might be a bit extreme, but he's an entertainer, the flip-side of Rush Limbaugh. Both are cooks, but people have every right to endorse anyone they want.

10:48 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Anonymous,

Would you take the same view of Don Imus?

Would you take the same view if American endorsed a Klan rally?

Or is it only somebody who hates Christians that you are protective of?

Of course American and WKLH can endorse whom they like.

And people who take offense can refuse to buy or listen. People can think that both businesses are either stupid or bigoted against Christians.

Do you have a problem with that?

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would definitely take the same view with Don Imus. That whole story is just blown way out of proportion. As for the Klan, that is different. We're talking about Bill Maher on the one hand, a leftist nut who thinks he's more clever and relevant than he really is, and the Klan on the other hand, a truly bigoted terrorist organization that has spilled innocent blood. Comparing the two is just ridiculous, but I have no right to tell American or any other business who to sponsor, even if it is the Klan. Fortunately, no business would ever (gosh I hope)sponsor an organization like the Klan, so that question is irrelevant.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Would you take the same view if David Horowitz was invited to speak at UWM? Oh, wait...

9:39 AM  
Anonymous JoandeArc said...

I'm not sure that your analogies are fair in terms of Imus and the Klan. Being black isn't a choice. Being homosexual isn't a choice. Being a Christian is a choice. Being a Democrat is a choice. People lob these underhanded attacks at each other all the time during election season, but I don't really think we would call it "hate speech," per se. Now, are Maher's statements unfair over-generalizations? Yes. But it's not anything you wouldn't hear out of Michael Savage's mouth - only the opposite.

10:01 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I'm not sure that your analogies are fair in terms of Imus and the Klan. Being black isn't a choice. Being homosexual isn't a choice. Being a Christian is a choice.

This is the standard politically correct line.

Acting on homosexual urges is a choice, and being in everybody's face about it is a choice.

But that's not really relevant.

If being Catholic is a "choice," Catholics should not have to renounce their faith to avoid being vilified.

It's rather odd to see liberals apologize for religious bigotry.

BTW, as for jibes directed at Democrats and Republicans, hatred of people because of their political convictions is bigoted too.

Welcome to 2008, folks. Liberals are the people who defend bigotry.

11:53 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

John said...
Would you take the same view if David Horowitz was invited to speak at UWM? Oh, wait...


I don't think Horowitz is the sort of bigot that Maher is.

But just for the sake of argument, suppose he is.

Disrupting his speeches is as fascist as disrupting Maher's would be.

And a company to wants to sell stuff to people who think Horowitz a bigot would be stupid to sponsor him.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

American TV works with Miracle Homes...a Christian Based company.

Think about it.

12:32 PM  
Blogger PaulNoonan said...

If being Catholic is a "choice," Catholics should not have to renounce their faith to avoid being vilified.

This sentence does not make any sense. If being Cathloic is a choice (and it is) then it is subject to the scrutiny of any other idea, political system, belief system, etc. There is no privilege for religion to escape ridicule any more than there is a privilige for socialists to escape ridicule. If you don't like it, make a decent case against it.

I agree that hatred of religious people is wrong, and that Maher is a, well, I suspect you probably wouldn't care for that language here. He's Ann Coulter for atheists, basically. But there should be a distinction between race and religion when it comes to ciriticsm.

12:54 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

This sentence does not make any sense. If being Cathloic is a choice (and it is) then it is subject to the scrutiny of any other idea, political system, belief system, etc. There is no privilege for religion to escape ridicule any more than there is a privilige for socialists to escape ridicule.

You've evaded my example of homosexuals, who may choose to engage in homosexual acts, and may choose to get in peoples' faces about their "sexual orientation."

But I don't think that religion is quite like any other idea people may hold, since people frequently hold religious beliefs deeply, and the beliefs often are part of a communal identity.

So saying that bigoted speech toward Catholics is OK while bigoted speech toward blacks is out of bounds doesn't cut it.

I'm glad you agree that hating religious people is wrong.

If you believe that, you should rather detest Maher.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I'm not understanding your whole "David Horowitz, too? Oh, wait..."

YES DAVID HOROWITZ TOO!

Just because students voiced disagreement with him doesn't mean a thing. Why would my view of David Horowitz be any different? Do you really think that my point here is that liberals can say whatever they want and conservatives cannot? You are way off base here Prof. McAdams. My point is that no matter what your political leanings, and no matter how extreme you present them, you have the right to say whatever you want. Further, businesses have the right to sponsor whomever they want. Did you notice in the response letter from American that they aren't going to pull their sponsorship?? Why would they? That sets a dangerous precedent. If they did, they'd effectively be saying "You are right, we can't sponsor this or that person because some people disagree with his views." Is that really what this country is about? Again, to reiterate and simultaneously answer your next response: YES, Horowitz, Maher, Limbaugh, Wright, Savage, Chomsky, etc etc; my views would not change regardless. Free speech is free speech. What is so hard to fathom here?

1:32 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

My point is that no matter what your political leanings, and no matter how extreme you present them, you have the right to say whatever you want. Further, businesses have the right to sponsor whomever they want.

Yes, and people have a right to shop wherever they want.

Are you saying that unions have no right to boycott goods made with non-union labor?

Are you saying that the civil right movement didn't have a right to boycott the Montgomery bus system?

Are you saying that human rights activists have no right to boycotte the Sudan?

2:24 PM  
Blogger PaulNoonan said...

I evaded nothing. You wrote:

But that's not really relevant.

I merely took you at your word. If you wish to discuss homosexuality and the appropriateness of criticism, I am more than willing to engage in that debate, but do not accuse me of skirting the issue when you actively sought to de-emphasize that argument. I think I'll save this for last. Let's start here:

But I don't think that religion is quite like any other idea people may hold, since people frequently hold religious beliefs deeply, and the beliefs often are part of a communal identity.

I don't see how this is different from political affiliation, nationalism, or any other type of community identity that people choose. In fact, the mere fact that religious beliefs may be deeply held is an argument in favor of allowing more criticism of religion, not less. After all, if the severity of belief is allwoed to impede dissent, those ideas that are both deeply held and harmful will be difficult to correct.

oreover, there are many religions and certainly we should start weeding a few out.
So saying that bigoted speech toward Catholics is OK while bigoted speech toward blacks is out of bounds doesn't cut it.


I did not "just say it." The distinction is pretty clear here. Race is inescapable. If you're black, you're black. I'm Irish, German, and Swedish, by the way. There is little I can do to change this. Moreover, my race has little if any bearing on my abilites, character, etc.

Religion is highly liquid. People change religions fairly regularly. I used to be Catholic, and now I'm not. There is nothing intellectual about race. Religion is entriely intellectual, and the enormity of its influence should require that we apply some critical thinking to the issue.

Lastly, I don't care for Maher. Even if I agree with his points, his tactics do moe to harm his cause than to help it. He's a jerk.

Let's move on to homosexuality.

First of all, I'm against anyone rubbing their sexuality in anyone's face. Unless it's consensual.

Let's leave homosexual acts aside for a second and deal with orientation. Presumably you are of the heterosexual orientation. If you are anything like me, you are fairly sure that you were born this way. It's easy to tell this because you cannot choose to change. Go ahead. Try.

The fact that you have no ability to change you orientation should tell you that homosexuals also lack said ability. Also, asking a homosexual will tell you this.

If any conservative on this post would care to disagree with me, they should be prepared to admit that they could choose homosexuality.

In this way, sexuality is more like race than religion. I can't go out tomorrow and turn gay, just like I can't go out tomorrow and turn black.

Now, let's deal with action. Here, your point is slightly stronger, but still pretty weak. After all, it is possible to go through life celebate, which is what Christians ask of homosexuals. However, while the individual opportunity to have sex is fairly easy to deny, the repeated decision to refrain from all sex is much more difficult. More than just the conscious brain is assaulted by the attempt to remain celebate.

And as I said, it's not impossible, but it is likely beyond the grasp of most.

Sex is, in this way, a bit like eating, in that it is driven by more than the conscious mind. I can decide, for a time, to not where the color blue. I can decide, for a time, to turn down all food offered. And I can decide, for a time, to abstain from sex.

Eventually, your hardwired isntincts will force you to give up the fast. You can, however, go forever without wearing blue without too much trouble.

Christians lump sexuality too much into the "shirt choosing" category. It's not entirely like the "fasting" option, but it's MORE like the fasting option than people give it credit for.

Homosexuals (and heterosexuals) then, arenot just wired to like a certain sex. They are also wired to act on these impulses.

All of this, I think, is fairly obvious if you take a second to look at it. Therefore, homosexuality is more like race, and discrimination in that vein is more like racism.

I have anticipated you comparing religion, which I have shown as open for criticism, with homosexuality, which I have shown as less open for criticism, based on the fact that religion is often deeply held and learned at an early age. Religion, hoever, is fundamentally different from sexuality because it is constituted of ideas. Religion professes to seek the truth and provide the truth. Rigor is therefore appropriate.

Sexuality is no philosophical movement. It is ingrained.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous John said...

I agree with you that David Horowitz is not the sort of bigot that Bill Maher is. He is much much worse.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous JoandeArc said...

"Welcome to 2008, folks. Liberals are the people who defend bigotry."

It's not a question of defending bigotry, professor. You can't just call opposition to a group that one chooses to align themselves with to be on par with racist hate speech. Ignore the homosexual "choice" point for a second (which I knew you would run away with and detract from the point originally being made); If you consider yourself to be part of a group, say, Christians, then you can't simply call anyone that opposes you a bigot. Doing so would actually be the act of quelling free speech, not the other way around. I've never seen you once on this website defend any Muslim critics, "hateful speech" or not. There's plenty of it out there, you should defend it sometimes. Just because you are a member of Christianity does not entitle you to point a finger and say that hatred of your chosen group is bigotry (and yes, it is chosen! Even if people are FORCED to give it up in some countries, you can never FORCE someone to not be black). You made the choice to assume that label, you have to take on the negative feedback.

All the usual hedging about how much Bill Maher is, in reality, an ass still apply. I'm really not arguing for him here, but rather against your overreaching analogies comparing him to the Klan.

7:18 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

All the usual hedging about how much Bill Maher is, in reality, an ass still apply. I'm really not arguing for him here, but rather against your overreaching analogies comparing him to the Klan.

Doesn't work.

The implication of your argument is that groups that are "really bad" (the Klan) have no rights, but that people are are not "really bad" (Maher) have more rights.

You problem is that I think Maher is really bad.

Once you concede that "really bad" people have no rights, it's open season.

9:29 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

In this way, sexuality is more like race than religion.

No, it's not.

You are just looking for an excuse to shut up speech that you don't like about homosexuality, while letting Christians be vilified.

Do you favor hate speech laws?

If you don't, then I'm not sure what we are arguing about.

Do you agree that a corporation should not endorse a speaker with a toxic message?

Or is it the case that you are offended at some toxic messages (against homosexuals) but are OK with other toxic messages (against Christians)?

2:47 PM  
Blogger PaulNoonan said...

No, it's not.

Yes it is. I laid out a very logical case as to why. Until you can actually answer my case, your unsupported nay-saying is pointless.

You are just looking for an excuse to shut up speech that you don't like about homosexuality, while letting Christians be vilified.

I don't want to shut up anyone who disparriages homosexuals for religious reasons. I want to change their minds. Hence the discussion above on the nature of homosexuality. It's pretty obvious that sexuality and relgion are not similar concepts. Religion should be treated differently. It should be treated like political affiliation. You would not advocate using kid gloves on socialists, would you?

Do you favor hate speech laws?

No, I'm a libertarian. Hate speech laws are, in my opinion, unconstitutional. Besides that, they are evil.

If you don't, then I'm not sure what we are arguing about.

We are arguing about appropriatenes, not legality.

Do you agree that a corporation should not endorse a speaker with a toxic message?

A corporation should do what is in its best interest. If its customers are going to get into a snit when it tries to target other segments of the population, then pulling sponsorship is appropriate. My problem is with you, for caring enough to whine to a corporation about their attempt to advertise to atheists.

Or is it the case that you are offended at some toxic messages (against homosexuals) but are OK with other toxic messages (against Christians)?

It depends on what the "toxic messages" are. I'm probably OK with "messages that John McAdams doesn't like" more often than you are.

I'm not in favor of excersizing an interest group to silence someone. If you don't like Maher, don't go to his show. By undercutting his sponsors you deprive others (if you take your actions to their logical conclusion.

If you hae a spare moment, watch this Seinfeld episode:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Couch

In it, Elaine is prevented from taking several beneficial steps because she has professed that she will not interact with anyone of the Pro-Life persuasion.

3:37 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

PaulNoonan said...

Yes it is. I laid out a very logical case as to why. Until you can actually answer my case, your unsupported nay-saying is pointless.

You did not lay out a logical case. Some people want to have homosexual sex. Some people want to have certain religious beliefs.

I'd say they have equal rights.

You seem to disagree.

We are arguing about appropriatenes, not legality.

Then there is this:

I don't want to shut up anyone who disparriages homosexuals for religious reasons. I want to change their minds.

But you don't change people's minds by attacking and deriding them.

By the way, I would like to change the minds of practicing homosexuals, but I don't think nasty invective is any proper tactic.

Why do you think that the Maher kind of bigotry is "appropriate?"

A corporation should do what is in its best interest. If its customers are going to get into a snit when it tries to target other segments of the population, then pulling sponsorship is appropriate. My problem is with you, for caring enough to whine to a corporation about their attempt to advertise to atheists.

But if a corporation sponsored a comedian who continually attacked homosexuals in nasty terms, you would "whine" about that, wouldn't you?


I said:

Or is it the case that you are offended at some toxic messages (against homosexuals) but are OK with other toxic messages (against Christians)?

And you said:

It depends on what the "toxic messages" are.

Translation: "I think nasty vilification is OK in some instances. For example, directed against groups I dislike -- like Christians. But not against homosexuals."

In it, Elaine is prevented from taking several beneficial steps because she has professed that she will not interact with anyone of the Pro-Life persuasion.

So what? She's a bigot.

But what about a black person who doesn't want to interact with a racist?

I would hope that person would never be put in a situation where he would have to.

4:33 PM  

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