Let me start by saying that I have a measure of respect for anyone who puts their name to their posts and bares their soul for the world to see. Paul Williams, who runs Blogging Theology, is one such person. I certainly do not agree with a lot of what I see on his site, but it is by and large insightful, especially regarding the Muslim faith.

Of course, it is inevitable that he would say things I take issue with. We’ve had discussions in the past, but I feel this is one worth archiving, as it were, so there is no room for confusion later on. My comments will be in blue, his in red. Any additional comments of mine will be in black.

It started when  Paul posted this picture:

bakethecake

The implication behind this image is obvious. The LBGT community is persecuting the Christian community (substitute Christian for religious if you wish). The chief bone of contention? That a gay couple took legal action against a bakery who refused to bake a wedding cake for them, on religious grounds. You can see more about this specific case here.

It’s a fantastical image but not an accurate one. Businesses that have agreed to abide by public laws and regulations don’t have the right to force their religious beliefs on their customers by means of refusing service. This is why the State and the Faith are kept separate – and indeed, why they should be.

I bet a liberal baker would refuse to bake a cake for the KKK and be supported by the left for doing so.

The beginnings of a rhetoric trick, intended to force me down a specific path.

That doesn’t excuse using religion as an excuse to discriminate.

would you support a liberal baker who refused to bake a cake for the KKK?

A better question would be, would you support anyone who entered into a public business, which is subject to public law, use their beliefs to arbitrarily discriminate against anyone, on the grounds of faith? What would be next? Christians refusing service to Muslims and vice-versa?

Moreover, your example of the KKK is a false dilemma. The KKK endorses discrimination as a matter of practice, against gays, blacks and ethnic minorities. I don’t imagine they would look too favourably upon Muslims either. A gay couple who simply want to buy a cake is not comparable to an organisation that has historically engaged in violence.

so what is your answer to my question?

Would you support a liberal baker who refused to bake a cake for the KKK?

Yes or no?

Paul is setting up a false dilemma. If I answer ‘yes’, he will say I am being hypocritical. If we want to get really technical, I would be – but the KKK is an organisation committed to hate. They ought to have been banned decades ago, and in practice they are not at all comparable to a gay couple who want a cake to help them celebrate their wedding. You can see why this is a false dilemma.

If I answer ‘no’, he will no doubt use that answer to imply I am somehow tolerant of the KKK. He is setting a ‘win-win’ scenario.

Already answered – it’s a false dilemma. Will you answer MY question? A better question would be, would you support anyone who entered into a public business, which is subject to public law, use their beliefs to arbitrarily discriminate against anyone, on the grounds of faith? What would be next? Christians refusing service to Muslims and vice-versa?

No you have not answered! It is not a false anything.

KKK walk into a known liberal baker and ask them to bake a nice cake with a lovely swastika on it.

Baker refuses on principle. Goes against her beliefs.

Would you support the baker?

Yes

or

no

Of course it’s a false dilemma. Shall I assume from your question your tacit support for the KKK and its discriminatory policies, which is not at all the same as a gay couple asking for a cake?

I know what you’re doing. It’s a rhetoric trick. Not only are you not answering MY question, but you’re trying to set up conditions. If I answer that I would support the baker who refused service to the KKK, you’ll turn around and accuse me of hypocrisy. If I say I wouldn’t, you’ll accuse me of supporting the KKK. Hence why it’s a false dilemma. Let me ask YOU – would YOU bake a cake for the KKK? Or a gay couple? Or would you remove yourself from a position where your personal beliefs would interfere with your ability to do your job impartially?

You are right – I’m not going to answer your question at the moment. I want you to answer mine first.

It’s not a trick question. It is a real question involving real people in the USA. IT COULD HAPPEN.

But it IS a test of your liberal principles. Let’s see if you apply them equally or not.

FACT: There are many KKK types in your country.

FACT: You have many bakeries too.

It is totally realistic to ask what would happen if one of the former walked into one of the latter. If you reject this possibility explain why it is impossible.

The latter refuses to serve the former.

Do you still agree with your statement above that:

“Businesses that have agreed to abide by public laws and regulations don’t have the right to force their religious beliefs [or political beliefs] on their customers by means of refusing service.”

Of course it’s a trick question. We both know EXACTLY what you intend to do, whichever way I answer, which is why I am reluctant to play your game. This is about placing spin upon which answer I give, so you can do ‘HA!’ We both know this to be true.

However, I will take your bait (and that is what it is), though I expect you to answer my question in return. I want your word that you shall do so before I give any answer. You should also be aware that I am archiving this discussion on my own site, so there is no room for conflation or confusion.

I’m still waiting…

I’m waiting for your word.

what word?

That you will answer my question if I answer yours.

I will think about it. Now, I’m still waiting for you to answer my question.

I’m still waiting for your word. That first, or no answer. Surely that’s fair?

No not really. I don’t like people setting conditions on my future actions. I just asked you a question. Either answer it or don’t.

Enough already!

There’s a certain element of irony here. Paul is trying to push me into a corner, yet when faced with the same approach, it appears he doesn’t like it.

You’re doing exactly that to me. What are you afraid of Paul? Being pushed into a pidgeon hole? Because we both know that’s what you’re doing to me. You are setting up conditions to either way declare ‘HA’. Perhaps I should keep asking why you equate the KKK with gays?

OK. Lets move on…

I tell you what. As it’s now gone 11pm and I have work tomorrow, I’ll answer you tomorrow. I’m disappointed that you will probably not give your word and answer my question (I have to wonder as to why), but I obviously can’t force you to give your word. I’ll take your bait and play your rhetorical game, but as I said, it will be tomorrow.

Right, time to offer up my answer to his leading question…

You wanted an answer Paul, here it is. I will say firstly, I am disappointed that you are using leading questions – it’s a rhetorical trick, and a pretty obvious one at that. You are hoping to generate a ‘win-win’ scenario for yourself. Unfortunately for you, this is not my first time around the block, as it were, and I can see through such tactics. I must also wonder at why you equate homosexual couples with the KKK – that is quite disturbing Paul, and I’ll be interested to see how you justify that comparison.

In order to answer your question effectively, we must first examine the nature of your question. The question itself is a false one – what exactly ‘is’ a liberal baker? This is left rather vague.

Moving on, I support anyone – liberal, Muslim, or Christian – who refused to endorse the KKK, across any platform. The KKK is a hate group. They have historically persecuted minorities – and right now have their eyes set on Muslims and homosexuals alike. http://www.ibtimes.com/alabama-kkk-recruiting-fight-spread-islam-2219087 http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/08/13/the-kkk-issues-plea-for-members-to-kill-gay-people/

I suspect you will now accuse me of hypocrisy, and I suspect you will not answer my question, which will be rather telling. I will nevertheless, continue with my own answer, and make a wider point.

What the homosexual couple want is for a public business, which agreed to abide by public law, to uphold that law and fulfil their obligation under it, instead of practicing discriminatory policies. Is it not diversity and choice – it is bigotry, disguised behind religion, that motivates the denial of service in these circumstances – and it is in fact illegal.

So where does it end Paul? Why do you believe anyone should be free to arbitrarily discriminate against anyone else? If you were to enter a place of business and be denied the service you requested, on the grounds of being a Muslim, would you then be asking questions about whether someone should serve the KKK a cake? Or would you take the issue more seriously?

 

Paul has so far been coy in his response, preferring to let others answer for him. As the number of comments has rapidly expanded, I’ll be preparing a part 2 to this. In the meantime, let’s take a wider look at what the issue really is. I’ve read complaints of homosexuals ‘destroying’ businesses with bigoted and Nazi-like behaviour. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

Homosexuals face being denied jobs, or dismissed from jobs, at a much higher rate than average. They face greater percentages of workplace harassment. This is a global problem

Yet we are supposed to believe homosexuals are ‘Nazis’ and it’s perfectly reasonable to refuse service to same-sex couples, and expecting businesses that operate in the public domain to abide by laws preventing arbitrary discrimination is completely unreasonable.


Riiiiight.

The thing is, the narrative put forward here is completely false. It is also dangerous. Where does permitting businesses to discriminate for whatever reason they choose end? I can only wonder what would happen if they are on the receiving end of such a practice.

For the second time in a few weeks I have nearly been run over by a cyclist who seems confused as to where the cycle path is – or just doesn’t care. I’m not amused. 

(my ‘not amused’ face)

I mean come on. The path is a joint pavement/cycle path and the boundary is well defined. There’s no excuse to be on the pedestrian path when there’s a clear cycle path right beside you. What’s worse, I have a feeling the guy who almost hit me yesterday (who must have seen me as he was coming down the hill) is the same guy who nearly hit me the other week. Rest assured people, if he hits me, there’ll be a hopping mad meerkat on the loose!

Retailers in the UK are being asked to put their final orders in for the Wii U. Are Nintendo due to shock the world with an earlier than expected release for the Nintendo NX? Nintendo revealed earlier this year that Nintendo NX is currently scheduled for a March 2017 release date, to land alongside The Legend […]

via Nintendo NX to be released Christmas 2016? — Go 8 Bit

As much as I would love this to be true, it seems unlikely to me. Nintendo are famous for taking their time and being methodical with their hardware and software – I’m not expecting the NX till next year.

**TW: Sexual assault and rape** Audrie & Daisy is an amazing Netflix documentary that follows, in particular, two teenagers who were sexually assaulted and raped (among other brave young women who also shared their stories). If you haven’t watched the documentary, you need to do so immediately. It’s similar to The Hunting Ground, and perhaps […]

via Audrie & Daisy, The Coleman Rape, and Rape Culture — Serenity

(Adam Lallana gets Liverpool off the mark in their 5-1 thrashing of Hull City)

I pose the question – could Liverpool end up being title contenders this season? Or is this a step too far for a team which is still under construction, so to speak?

There’s little question that, trip to Burnley aside, Liverpool have played some scintillating football. Victories at Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as a draw at Tottenham, all represent great results – 7 out of 9 points from tough trips to London is great in anyone’s book. Added to that are two positive home wins – 4-1 against Leicester and 5-1 against Hull. Goals have so far been pretty easy to come by, with a number of players on the scoresheet (and with Daniel Sturridge still to find his form, there are more goals to come). However, there’s a note of concern in each and every one of our league victories – not one clean sheet. In fact, not one clean sheet at all in the league so far.

This is Liverpool’s Achilles’ Heel. Whilst there are signs of greater sharpness in front of goal, a solid foundation is a must for any team that harbours title ambitions. The ability to close out matches when not playing well and grind out results is something every championship-winning side has done – look at Leicester last season – they would win a number of games 1-0, being ruthless and clinical and strong defensively. I haven’t yet seen that from this Liverpool side.

So whilst I would love for us to be title contenders, I think a more realistic goal is Champions League qualification. That is not beyond us.

I was excited by Spore. When this game was revealed, it suggested a rich, immersive experience that would involve developing a species from the ground up – shaping their evolution from the microbial stage, right through to the emergence of intelligence and through to space-faring civilisations. Unfortunately, the game didn’t live up to the hype, proving to be disappointing, especially in the latter stages.

The good: The depth to which you can design your creation is pretty incredible. You can give them as many limbs as you want, shape their eyes, their height, skin colour, everything. This extends to the next stage (when your species crawls out of the ocean and becomes a land creature). Even the point where your creatures develop early civilisation (think hunter-gathers) is quite entertaining. Unfortunately…

The bad: … at this point the game wanes, and becomes very samey. Your options for developing your civilisation are limited, and the more advanced you get, the worse this gets. By the time the game takes you to interstellar space, you’re faced with a frustrating and confused four-X game where you have only one ship, yet are expected to put out fires across multiple planets. If the game had evolved into a Civilisation/Master of Orion-style simulation once it reached those stages, it would have excellent. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

5/10.

(please note: this is not aimed at everyone who owns a dog. Most dog owners are responsible people who clean up after their pets)

There have been two incidents in my recent past that have left me feeling revolted and annoyed – and they both concern dogs and their ‘business’. The first took place walking home from work, when I saw a pair of lads walking a dog down the pavement, in the middle of a reasonably busy street. Nothing unusual there – except the dog pooed on the pavement, and the best answer the lad walking the dog could come up with as I walked past: ‘It’s not my dog’.

wp-1473857966940.jpg

Whaaaaa? Does that matter when you’re letting the dog literally crap all over a pavement? You’re holding the leash, the dog is therefore under your control and therefore your responsibility!

It gets worse. This morning, as I was walking into work, I unwittingly set foot in… dog poo.

timonannoyed2

With the shoes I wear, which have numerous grooves, this was distinctly unpleasant. Cue heading upstairs to clean it off, a tedious and gross experience that made me gag a couple of times. The culprit? The dog (or more precisely the dog owner) who lives in one of the flats above the store. This dog doesn’t get many trips to the local parks, and tend to therefore crap on the roof above the store, or in the little ‘garden’ area behind it (which happens to be a walkway to get to the store and also to the flats above). The owner doesn’t seem to understand that she needs to clear up after her pooch – she is creating a health hazard for herself, her kids, and for everyone else that uses the area.

I haven’t had the chance to speak to her, but I plan on mentioning this to the owner. I don’t want to be cleaning poo off my shoe because the owner is too lazy to clean it up.

 

QotD: “Why I was wrong about men” – http://wp.me/pfJre-289

I caught myself indulging in some paths of thought earlier which skirt the line of misogyny. I read this post and bristled. I wondered if and how to reply. Then I realised – the author writes from her experiences – who am I to tell her she is being harsh?

The truth is, if we (that is, men) are to challenge perspectives like this, we need to start by challenging ourselves and our behaviours. The MRAs and MGTOWs of this world, who see fit to blame women for all their problems without once stopping to look at themselves, are fuelling the anger of feminists, especially radical feminists, who write this sort of article.