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November 18, 2014


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Loved this article.

Such an obvious point of view, this : that religion deserves no special treatment : yet how often this obvious view is not so obvious to people!

I agree fully with you, but let me play devil's advocate and ask a contrary question, merely in order to examine this issue from all angles :

What about special needs of groups like homosexuals? Are homosexuals any different from congenital believers (and, by extension, congenital believers in some particular religion)?

I don't even know if gays demand any special treatment (they do demand non-discrimination, which is their right, and a different thing altogether) : but if they did (or do) demand special treatment and/or privileges, then would that be justified?

It's not obvious that you or Belville have ever served in the military.

The purpose of a uniform is to promote the eradication of individual identity and help erase the idea of the service member as a singular entity.

The US military used to struggle with religious attire conflicts, but then figured out that service members who were already into much bigger systems of control were much easier to manage and incorporate into the unit system of subordinated individual identity.

The "hippie" attire is much more of a problem for the military than a turban or skullcap or whatever because the individual doesn't choose the religious garb -- it's dictated to them, and wearing it is obedience. Wisely, the military figured out that by allowing people their religious garb, they actually reinforce the military's own goals, by melding another powerful entity's method of control with the military's.

the Satanic Temple...believes strongly in the separation of church and state.

Thereby showing that they're the least devilish of all religions.

Okay, talking of the army and special rights for religion, here’s what strikes me:

Which is by far the most egregious example of religious nutjobs getting their way? Why, the state of Israel, that’s what.

Now no doubt those guys (or at least, their grandfathers) got one really lousy deal under the Nazis. No gainsaying that. (You need to preface your remarks about our Hebrew friends by saying that if you aspire to be at all politically correct, just like you need to latch on a peace-be-unto-him after the name of the murderous and polygamous founder of the craziest religion in the history of mankind. Well I’ve done my politically correct duty by invoking the horrors of Auschwitz--which, incidentally, was truly horrible, and cursing Hitler the Horrible, and so back to what I was saying.)

Talk about the entitlement of religious nutjobs! Why (apart from the realpolitik and all that) did the state Israel come to be? At best, dodgy history dating back some 2,500 years or so (by which logic each and every nation existing today ought to be carved up and our political world map redesigned into something entirely unrecognizable). That was the “at best” explanation. The actual (and infinitely more probable) explanation is, to humor some basket case fanatics and their book of nursery rhymes and fairy tales.

And the question arises : If the one, then why not the other? If you tip your hat to the Israeli state, then why would you not salaam that murderous psycho Abu Bakr, and recognize him as the true Caliph and true political representative of the equally murderous founder of his psychotic faith?

Of course all of this is nonsense. Of course all of this ought to stop. But where does one start, if one is to keep anything like a holistic perspective? How does one come off not looking an out-and-out hypocrite in attempting to set our world right from its superstitious foundations?

Brian, just a general housekeeping question/suggestion : I enjoy going through the very interesting exchanges of comments that sometimes come up here. The older posts are the best for that, but my question is : how does one see what posts are being commented on at this time? You get only the 10 most recent comments on the sidebar (yes, I've read your blog post on this topic).

Now when I get to your site, then besides reading your posts of course, I also like to see what topics people are commenting on. So is there any way to click on a link or something and see a whole list of recent comments? (I couldn't see any such link.)

No (lest you ask), I don't like to subscribe to comments. That simply clogs up my email. I generally visit your site once or twice a week, and it would be cool if one could see what people've been talking about since my last visit. (If it isn't very involved or difficult for you, naturally! I have no knowledge of coding, so I don't know how this works.)

Appreciative Reader, for quite a few years I've asked TypePad (the blogging service I use) to add the feature that you are requesting. Obviously they haven't done this. I keep telling them that just listing the ten most recent comments isn't good enough.

As you said, this doesn't help much in knowing which posts have gotten the most commenting activity recently. Sometimes a few commenters "suck up" most of the recent comment list.

I try to moderate this by not publishing repetitive, non-substantive, or purely personal comments, but that doesn't help much, since some people mistake leaving comments on a blog post with messaging. Meaning, they use comments as a way to communicate with someone else, which really isn't very appropriate.

I'll share your comment with TypePad staff. Maybe this will spur them to add the commenting feature that they should have given us subscribers a long time ago.


I was going through their KB and it's been listed here:

You can increase the "lastn" in the recent_comments module script, and it will show the list of comments as mentioned by the "lastn" value. So, you can increase the number of comments shown.

Also, I think instead of having it on the sidebar, maybe you can create a dedicated page "Recent Comments" and have the link on the top navigation bar, and in the body content of that page, you can add the recent_comment modules' script so it will start showing the 50 or 100 comments titles on that page's content.

One Initiated

One Initiated, thanks for looking into this. The approach you laid out requires fiddling around with the HTML/CSS/whatever coding for my blog. Not being expert in this, I likely would have to pay TypePad to do it for me. A possibility, but I'm not wild about making changes to the blog that I wouldn't be able to undo or change on my own easily.

I left a support ticket with Typepad about this subject and got a response. Yeah, it sound like a "form letter," but at least its something:

"Thanks for reaching out. These sounds like good suggestions and we'll definitely add them to our requests. We have some big things coming up that we're hard at work on and you can get updates via
http://everything.typepad.com "

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