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Examining Religious Bias In Filtering Software

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the self-determination dept.

Censorship 149

the_rev_matt writes: "eSchool News has a great piece about the religious influence present in filtering software. Not that this will be a surprise to most /. regulars, but the research behind it is interesting. Now if only eSchool News could change their name to something less horrible..."

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149 comments

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Seperation of Church and State (1)

TheGeneration (228855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114488)

This information should lend itself to a clear cut Seperation of Church and State case regarding the filters mentioned in the article.

If the students are anti-filtering wish to have the filtering software removed from the systems all the need to do is find a lawyer willing to take the case up pro bono as a constitutional question case.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114616)

Seperation between church and state? Well, okay. But must there be a seperation between church and city or church and school? Why can't each school decide for themselves?

Secondly, isn't there already a seperation between "church" and state? I figured that with so many religions involved that there was no official "church".

Also, where is the exact passage that contains "seperation between church and state"?

Re:Seperation of Church and State (5, Insightful)

Eagle7 (111475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114853)

Seperation between church and state? Well, okay. But must there be a seperation between church and city or church and school? Why can't each school decide for themselves?

Becuase the school is run by the state. And incientally, state applys to any government in this country - federal, state, local. And government operated school has to abide by the constitution. Not to get ad hominem (sp?) here - but this is really basic American civics.

Secondly, isn't there already a seperation between "church" and state? I figured that with so many religions involved that there was no official "church".

It's not about an official church, its about any religion have any more or less influence on goernment than any other religion. So if we let Religion A have a certain right, we need to let every other religion (even the one's that A doesn't like, or thinks is occult, etc) have the same right. What is often forgotten is that the same applies in reverse - all religion's have protection and free from the government. So the government can't decide to, say, tax your local Baptist church out of existence, and let your local synagogue or mosque get a free ride. Incidentally, the famous "Wall of Separation" quote was in response to a Baptist group writing the president thanking him for supporting the Seperation of Church and State - as they were facing oppression at the hands of thier Congregationalist controled local government.

Also, where is the exact passage that contains "seperation between church and state"?

Well, it all stems from the "Congress shall make no law..." clause in the Constitution about relgions. The actualy phrase was coined in the aforementioned letter by (I am almost sure, but I am tired) Thomas Jefferson. More details about all this can be found at a place like the ACLU [aclu.org] or AU [au.org] .

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114970)

I looked up the two links that you provided. I must confess that I didn't do a thorough search, but I did find this one [au.org] explaining that religous activity in the public schools is allowed. That's sounds more like what I believe and what I was attempting to communicate. I would never allow a church to *directly* control the public coffers, even if it were my own church.

If you could search for the appropriate texts for me, I would appreciate it.

I said:
Why can't each school decide for themselves?


You replied:
Becuase the school is run by the state.


But what I am really trying to ask is why can't the US ammend the laws to allow each school to decide for themselves on what they want to do? I realize that this opens a whole can of worms, but the free market allows each company to set its own prices. Why can't the schools have the same freedoms?

To do this, school funds would have to be collected in another way, but let's say that each community managed to have their own school taxes directed to their own school. Why can't the laws be ammended?

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure that the voters will never accept this, but I still think it's worth debating about.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

mselmeci (468501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115179)

I hate all this censorship BS. Schools shouldn't have such filtering software. The government shouldn't try to act as a babysitter to all the teenagers in the US, the teachers can take care of the kids.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (4, Insightful)

Eagle7 (111475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115438)

If you could search for the appropriate texts for me, I would appreciate it.

Well, I did find the letter I was refering to: here [usconstitution.net]

To do this, school funds would have to be collected in another way, but let's say that each community managed to have their own school taxes directed to their own school.

Well, for one, at least in NY communities do provide the taxes for thier own schools. There are school lunch programs, etc from state/federal governments, but the majority of the funds are local.

The problem with have each community set its own standard is that the constitution is still the law of the land. This would be akin to a community deciding that it was legal to stop women from voting. The Constitution has the last word, so every government body at any level in the US has to abide by the minimum freedoms and laws set forth by the Constitution. From an ethical point of view, you have the problem that if a community did vote to have a government funded parochial school, even if 95% of that community was X religion, you are still violating the rights of 5% that are Y or Z religion. Not to mention the number of that 95% that feel that the schools should not be teaching thier children religion, but the parents should. Or the guy from another community who happens to move there and doesn't buy into what's being done (see the movie Footloose for what I mean).

OK, those are the facts. Now I am going to throw in some opinionated stuff. First, the Separation of Church and State is a good thing to just about anyone who isn't look to force thier religion on other people. It garuntees that everyone will have complete freedom to practice thier religion however they want, and that no one will have to worry about having to support someone else's religion, or face descrimination by the government for their religious choices. This is a very important thing. Second, if you look at religion as a private and community entity, the majority of times it is a worthwhile force. But when you look at religion mixed with government (or sudo-government) entities, you get things like the Crusades, nations that don't respect women, pilgrims crossing huge oceans just to practice thier religion, etc. Europeans first came to what is now the US becuase of the problems caused by State-sponsered religion. People seem to forget this.

I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that you are Christian, and therefore you are conveniently in the majority in the US. Imagine for a moment if the push for religion in schools/government was coming from the Jews, or the Hindus, or the Pagans, or the practitioners of Voodoo - and you were in the minority. I hope that it will help put things in perspective, and personalize the things at stake. And keep in mind the Danbury Baptists, and the Pilgrims - who relied on the Freedom of Religion to be able to practice thiers.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3117018)

I took a look at the site. Thank you for taking the time to find it. I seriously do appreciate it.

The amendment says that government isn't allowed to force a religous view or action on a group/person. Now why are *you* insisting the government *force* its anti-religous view on the schools? Let the schools decide.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

Acrucis (132401) | more than 12 years ago | (#3119814)

Say I belong to a minority religion and have kids in school. Even if 95% of the community at large is Christian and is happy with Christian censoring in the schools, I'm not. If the schools decide to teach Christianity, the government isn't forcing religion on schools, the schools are considered part of the government and are forcing religion on the students.

The school board, or even the parents in general, should NOT be allowed to decide, because you will likely end up with the majority trampling the rights of the minority.

Government is the only place those of us of minority religions get respite from this trampling. For example, right now the stores have aisles and aisles of Easter candy, but no snacks that can be eaten during Passover (similar annoyance affects all minority religions). This is expected because what the stores stock is determined by the market, but what the schools teach should be neutral.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3123289)

but what the schools teach should be neutral.


*But* what the government teaches *isn't* neutral. Who watches the watchmen?

If the schools decide to teach Christianity, the government isn't forcing religion on schools, the schools are considered part of the government and are forcing religion on the students.


I think that you'd be surprised at how bigoted you really are. Most, if not all people these days are surprisingly tolerant. No, they won't force you to believe, or else fail you. Yes, there may be cultural pressures to do this or that, but has the government *ever* stopped any type of cultural pressure?

My friend came out of a Catholic School, and *didn't* believe in Roman Catholicism [wrong spelling?], yet she is much more "Christian" than many people I know, *and* she did well academically. They never forced her to participate in Catholic practises.

Sorry, your worse case scenario doesn't work for the rest of us.

The school board, or even the parents in general, should NOT be allowed to decide, because you will likely end up with the majority trampling the rights of the minority.


Sorry, but they are not more moronic than you. As if they don't have common sense. Come on.

This isn't about rights. It's about beliefs and the freedoms for a community to invest in its young people things that they believe are true.

You are legally correct in that the schools are a part of the government. However, that doesn't mean that it should be this way, anymore than they should be patrolling /. for guys like me. Nope. Sorry.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (3, Insightful)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122003)

Now why are *you* insisting the government *force* its anti-religous view on the schools?

Anti != Non.

Let the schools decide.

How would a school decide? By vote? So if there were 30 Catholics, 20 Baptists, and 20 Jews, then the school should teach Catholic dogma? It's much better if the parents and religious leaders teach religion during services/sunday school/home sessions/etc.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (0)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3123341)

Now why are *you* insisting the government *force* its anti-religous view on the schools?

Anti != Non.

Uhm, what? You are *against* religion being taught in schools. In this debate you are *opposed* *any* religions being taught in school. That does pretty much make it "anti".

How would a school decide? By vote? So if there were 30 Catholics, 20 Baptists, and 20 Jews, then the school should teach Catholic dogma?

No. Just to take the worse case scenario, if *all* of us are taught Judaism, we would still become better people because all of these religions are based on the Old Testament.

Remember, when local schools have control over ciriculum, then the local citizens also have control over the schools. When there is tax money from a wide variety of people, there will be compromises.

You could keep coming up with worse case scenarios. None of them, even if true, would justify the rest of us being trampled by you, the minority.

It's much better if the parents and religious leaders teach religion during services/sunday school/home sessions/etc.

No it isn't. It's always better to have larger groups being served by a few. Please don't take that to extremes. What I'm trying to say is that when one person can specialize in teaching then we all profit, because other people can specialize at what they are good at. Are all people good teachers? No. They shouldn't be forced to become good teachers in order for them to pass on their beliefs and/or the truth.

This is complex. Let the communities and courts decide on a case by case basis.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (2, Insightful)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115989)

Re: But what I am really trying to ask is why can't the US ammend the laws to allow each school to decide for themselves on what they want to do? I realize that this opens a whole can of worms, but the free market allows each company to set its own prices. Why can't the schools have the same freedoms?

It's not about the schools' freedoms. It's about the students' freedoms. More to the point, it's about taking the power over what people can and cannot view and turning that power over to a corporation that won't release its list of blocked sites.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3116998)

When you deny the schools certain freedoms to decide for themselves what to teach, then everybody looses out--not just the students. Your arguement isn't about freedom. It's about preserving your views which are being taught in schools.

What you are also saying is that if they are taught one religion, they will automatically become undiscerning morons who can't figure out truth, as easily as you did. There are Internet connections all over. They are only banning certain sites in school, not everywhere the person goes!

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3117027)

[just came up with another idea]

The student's freedoms? Really? Are you sure?

Then private schools are unconstitutional, because the students are only presented with one view? or perhaps because they have filtered Internet access?

If it's only about protecting the students, then parents can't have any authority over the children either.

Sorry, but no.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3121434)

You seem to have a hard time understanding the concept of a seperaion of church and state. Of course private schools are allowed to teach one viewpoint. They are under no constitutional restriction to be neutral with regards to all religious beliefs or lack thereof. State run schools are. Is this idea really that hard for you people to follow?

Scythe

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 12 years ago | (#3121878)

Re: "When you deny the schools certain freedoms to decide for themselves what to teach, then everybody looses out--not just the students."

Public shcools are a state-run agency. They are supported by taxpayer money. They are subject to regulations governing federal employers. They are as much a part of the government as the police department, the FBI, or Congress. Thus, if a public shcool decides that websites about (insert unpopular religion/practice/philosophy here) are off-limits, then that amounts to government restriction on that religion/practice/philosophy).

Re: "Your arguement isn't about freedom. It's about preserving your views which are being taught in schools."

No, it isn't. If it were, I would insist that filters be implemented to block all religious sites and only allow sites about atheism, since I'm an atheist. But since I respect the religious rights of others, I want all filters removed from public computers so they can look up any damn religion they please, as per their rights under the 1st Amendment.

Re: "What you are also saying is that if they are taught one religion, they will automatically become undiscerning morons who can't figure out truth, as easily as you did."

Stop putting words in my mouth. What I'm saying that students should be taught about ALL religions, or at least not actually prohibited to learn about them using the school resources that they and their parents paid for. Net filtering is censorship. Censorship is denial of information. Denial of information is the opposite of what schools are for.

Re: "There are Internet connections all over. They are only banning certain sites in school, not everywhere the person goes!"

I've heard that one before, and it's quite possibly the lamest argument ever from the pro-filter crowd. Look, not everyone has an Internet connection at home. But everyone does pay taxes to support the libraries and public schools. Furthermore, everyone pays taxes that maintain the university/military/government servers and networks that form the backbone of the Internet (that's right, it's them and not AOL). And if those publicly-supported computers block sites about Religion A, then Religion A's taxpaying believers are being made to support a system that intentionally tries to stifle their beliefs.

Re: "Then private schools are unconstitutional, because the students are only presented with one view? or perhaps because they have filtered Internet access?"

No. Private schools are just that- private. They're not state-run, therefore any kind of religious/philosophical indoctrination they visit on their students is not government-backed like it would be at a public school.

Re: "If it's only about protecting the students, then parents can't have any authority over the children either."

Wrong. The family is a private institution. No backing by the state there, hence they can deny their kids any information they want without it amounting to government censorship.

That's the key thing here, Eugene. Daddy tells Junior that God made the earth in six days and forbids him to read about devilution- fine. Uncle Sam tells Junior that God made the earth in six days and forbids him to read about devilution- that's government censorship, regardless of which state agency is doing it.

Re:Seperation of Church and State (1)

Stevis (69064) | more than 12 years ago | (#3118348)

But what I am really trying to ask is why can't the US ammend the laws to allow each school to decide for themselves on what they want to do? I realize that this opens a whole can of worms, but the free market allows each company to set its own prices. Why can't the schools have the same freedoms?

Public Schools aren't a free market, in most places. You go to the one closest to you; occasionally you can get shuttled around to certain schools that are strong in math/arts/whatever, like you can here in Chicago. And in most places parents can pay to send their kids to a different public school district, I think, though it costs them up front and in arranging their own transportation. Obviously, this is not available to lower income parents.

So no, sir, this is not even "worth debating about". The freedom of people to worship privately as they see fit is of utmost importance--depending on your view of ultimate importance of the here and now vs. the eternal, it may be even more important than free speech.

Stevis

Re:Seperation of Church and State (2)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3121976)

But what I am really trying to ask is why can't the US ammend the laws to allow each school to decide for themselves on what they want to do? I realize that this opens a whole can of worms, but the free market allows each company to set its own prices. Why can't the schools have the same freedoms?

There isn't a free market on public (gov't run) schools. There often isn't any overlap between the served areas of schools, much less enough for one school per major religion plus an extra for the odd ones out. Are you assuming that all communities have only one religion, and people should segregate themselves by the local school's religious affiliation? Private (non-gov't) schools are free to have any religious affiliation they wish. They provide the alternative for people who want religious instruction to be part of their school's curriculum.

Re:Separation of Church and State (2)

Teun (17872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122542)

Funny how we in The Netherlands interpret that separation of church and state so differently.
Our thought is that all have the right to education and as a consequence the state (taxpayer) foots the bill.
At the same time we think that parents have the right to decide what type of education is appropriate and they set up their school board along their political or religious beliefs.

So the parents decide and the state pays.
(Off course the same amount for any type of school)

Why it's so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114531)

You can't have morals without an acknowledgement of a power higher than yourself. Without a God, you are simply basing your 'morals' on subjective experiences rather than on a solid set of teachings as set forth by a God.

Re:Why it's so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114579)

You can't have morals without an acknowledgement of a power higher than yourself. Without a God, you are simply basing your 'morals' on subjective experiences rather than on a solid set of teachings as set forth by a God.

And that is exactly why the blocking of Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, Druid, (neo)Pagan, and Satanist sites is such a bad move, and should not be allowed.

Re:Why it's so. (2)

PD (9577) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114583)

So, what you're saying is that god cannot be moral? I'll agree with that.

Re:Why it's so. (2)

anomaly (15035) | more than 12 years ago | (#3121697)

Ok. If there's a god, how can it be that god would not be moral? What is your definition of god?

What is your standard for determining morality?

Re:Why it's so. (2)

PD (9577) | more than 12 years ago | (#3121872)

The person I replied to said that a higher power is required to define morality. Who defines morality for god?

Re:Why it's so much dogmatic crap (3, Insightful)

SuperguyA1 (90398) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114608)

I don't know how to reply to this other than to say it's bullpucky. What about the desire to live within a decent society. What about the desire to be able to get along with those around you. No God there, although it certainly makes room for God, which your Closed minded Dogmatic argument doesn't reciprocate.

Re:Why it's so much dogmatic crap (1, Interesting)

TheGeneration (228855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114958)

What you believe constitute a decent society may not be what I consider a decent society. I don't want my children exposed to fairy tales about super natural creators of the universe. I want my kids to believe in themselves and to be mindful of the traps of irrationality that religion presents. If you disgaree with that... I'm sorry. But I should not have to worry about my children having access to ANY religious website.

Re:Why it's so much dogmatic crap (1)

TheGeneration (228855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115018)

Darn Slashdots system of making posts higher up in the thread disapear. I thought you were replying to me. My original response was out of context. My apologies.

Re:Why it's so. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114735)

Damn you! This is a superb post. Here, I saw this thread and thought "this fucker is riper than a watermellon in August for a little trolling." But this, damn, this is much better than I could have done. Kudos!

You should head over to trollaxor.com. It's a nice site.

Re:Why it's so. (1)

TheGeneration (228855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115002)

Right. Well since I don't believe in any god, and I know all religious texts were written by men then all morals by all people would be subjective.

I can easily argue that having a moral as simplistic as "Do unto others as you would others do unto you." is a higher, simpler, better moral.

I don't want to be killed, so I don't kill.
I don't want my stuff stolen, so I don't steal.
I don't want my children brain washed by a religion, so I don't brain wash your children.

Pretty frickin simple buddy.

Re:Why it's so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3115027)

I don't want asparagus to eat me, so I don't eat asparagus.

How far do you want to take this stupid line of reasoning before you realize that you need an external arbiter (let's call Him God) to set standards.

Re:Why it's so. (1)

TheGeneration (228855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115061)

Actually, I'd rather make my external arbiter Ariel the flying dragon thing from The Never Ending Story as long as we're using fictional creatures to arbitrate our lives.

Re:Why it's so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3115082)

Suit yourself. Now write a filter based on Ariel's precepts.

Re:Why it's so. (1)

RDskutter (171222) | more than 12 years ago | (#3117557)

I don't want asparagus to eat me, so I don't eat asparagus.

Asparaguses don't generally go around eating people. What was your point again ?

Re:Why it's so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3121482)

Some of us don't need the belief in punishments or rewards distributed by some great pixie in the sky to build our philosophy around.

Scythe

Pork Buttocks (1)

HKTiger (527586) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122694)

With all due respect, your comment assumes two things: 1) that humans are incapable of thinking rationally on subjects such as ethics, or indeed of ethical conduct on their own account, and 2) that any dictate of a superior power is by definition moral. And I'd have to comment "Get a grip". Moral!=dictated from above. Read any of the copious quantities of writings on the subject of ethics before you continue...

Re:Why it's so. (2)

StormyMonday (163372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122912)

a power higher than yourself

You mean the Government? God is the Government? The Government is God? You need to watch your phrasing; you're not talking to True Believers here.

I live by moral codes derived from social norms, scientific principals, and Government laws. You live by moral codes that "God" whispers in your ear.

You may call it "morals"; I call it schizophrenia.

Abstain or Protection? (-1, Flamebait)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114585)

Most left wing non-Christian bleeding heart liberals, like Planned Parenthood, would probably say that teaching kids to abstain from sex won't work. After all, that's why we should give them free condoms, right?

Well, if teaching kids to abstain from sex won't work, why would teaching them to abstain from pornography work?

At this point, I'm sure that someone will say that the filters aren't only about pornography, but my arguement still holds. If people want to surf for certain political information, like how to kill Jews and become a Nazi, then should we as a society allow that kind of stuff? I realize that there is a slippery slope here, but why can't we allow each school to decide for themselves what their immediate needs are?

In the end it doesn't make that big of a difference. After all, enough people get the Internet at home, that info can be spread through there.

Re:Abstain or Protection? (2)

Eagle7 (111475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114762)

Incidentally, regardless of what PP might say, good, scientific studies say that teaching kids about *only* abstinence won't work. Some kids are going to have sex - the only way to protect them from becoming STD victims or teenage parents is to teach them how to do what they will do anyway safely. It's common sense that is backed up by good research. It has nothing to do with religion - it has *everything* to do with human nature.

I do agree with the rest of your argument to some degree - and I would advocate that any pre-high school internet access in schools should *always* be supervised, and that high schools should employ a simple corporate-type filter that blocks only overtly pornographic type sites; computers should all be in public areas; and the adult in charge should be able to override the blocks at will on thier own judgement for a certain site.

Of course, we have a law on the books that won't allow this, so until the law changes, it is important that we ensure that our schools are not being unwittingly used to influence children in "non-sanctioned" ways.

Re:Abstain or Protection? (2, Interesting)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115151)

and that high schools should employ a simple corporate-type filter that blocks only overtly pornographic type sites;


I think that alone would put an end to a *lot* of arguements. But I could be wrong. I believe that government organizations should be more transparent to the community in how their computers work. This way the community can have input, and concerned consultants would have brought up your suggestion, by now.

Block only porn? You're dreaming. (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 12 years ago | (#3116337)

Re: "and I would advocate...that high schools should employ a simple corporate-type filter that blocks only overtly pornographic type sites"

Impossible. Even living, breathing, thinking humans can't nail down a concrete definition of "overtly pornographic"- no nannyware app is going to be able to be up to the task. Filtering keywords will block way more than goat-fisting sites, and I defy you to write software that can look at a JPG file and determine whether it contains any squishy pink bits. And even if you could, try teaching it to separate art from "HOT ASIAN SLUTS!!!"- again, that's something even us meatbrains can't always manage.

Bottom line is this: Using filters to protect kids from Bad Stuff online is like using a snowshovel to take a fly out of a spiderweb- you could do it, but how much web will be left afterwards (pun intended)?

Re:Abstain or Protection? (1)

TheGeneration (228855) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114925)

I realize that there is a slippery slope here, but why can't we allow each school to decide for themselves what their immediate needs are?

So the school which is predominately protestant can use the filtering software to push out mormon, catholic, jewish, and muslim (oh yeah, and gays, and sex education materials, and abortion) sites because they got to choose for themselves? I'm just curious why kids in one school will be able to handle exposure to certain types of info better than kids in any other school. I think it is much more neccessary for those who want local filtering control to argue why their kids need more filtering than anybody elses kids. Why shouldn't there be a national standard for filtration if filtration is mandated? (I of course think that filtration should not be mandated though.)

Re:Abstain or Protection? (2, Insightful)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115123)

Why shouldn't there be a national standard for filtration if filtration is mandated?


Because with a national standard, there are less people involved. With less people involved there is a greater chance that the standards won't meet everybody's needs.

However, if each group can decide for themselves what to filter, then there is a better chance of everybody having their needs met.

This whole filtering philosophy can be about religion, but it doesn't *have* to be *only* about religon. What if the kids in one school are such Internet addicts that the school recognizes the value of filtering *everything* *except* for a particular site that is relavent and unbiased to the study at hand? A National Board wouldn't have enough time to deal with each school on a case by case basis.

I think it is much more neccessary for those who want local filtering control to argue why their kids need more filtering than anybody elses kids.


That's a good arguement. And I respond by saying that they should decide on a case by case basis. Why should a community in Florida have to explain to a community in Washington State? It doesn't make sense. Why should Columbine High School have to justify their views to you? What if everybody in that community literally adopted the *exact* same beliefs? I know it's impossible, but for the sake arguement, let's examine the senario.

With today's laws would they be able to filter out according to their own beliefs? Remember, there is no disagreement, because they all of a sudden became followers in the same religion! I think that most people would cry foul and start submitting stories to /. Oh my!

Disclaimer [in case someone wasn't following what I said]: I don't believe that everybody in that community has the same religion. It's just something for discussion.

Kids can get Internet access outside of school. We can't please everybody. With each school deciding for themselves, more communities will be happy. With each community deciding for themselves, it will be *harder* [not impossible] for mistakes to be spread to other communities.

Re:Abstain or Protection? (2)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122080)

Remember, there is no disagreement, because they all of a sudden became followers in the same religion!

Would they also forbid anyone from a different religion from moving in later? Because that is illegal, too.

Re:Abstain or Protection? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3123233)

Once again, this is a hypothetical situation, but I'll try to answer.

Whether or not they would forbid someone from moving in is a slightly off-topic, but relavent issue. You can't make laws based on the worst case scenarios. That's why we have a free market. People get ripped off all the time, yet the government doesn't *have* to intervene in *every* situation, as if they are *automatically* the *only* people who can decide what is best.

You've got to remember, religions want to convert people; often times for the genuine interest of others. So it's not as if the average school like our hypothetical one would *strictly* *forbid* anyone else from coming in. *And* it's not as if the non-religous community is immune from discrimination.

To sum things up in answer to your literal question: I don't know what they would do. That's why I want to give them the freedom to decide for themselves.

However, what you probably really want to know is whether or not there is a way for someone to come into the community and not believe in the same religion, and still have a voice in the decision making. The answer is yes. Just as *you* can post on /. and have influence over me, that 1 family can have influence. It only takes one. Remember, just because they have a religous belief, doesn't mean they are morons. People learn. People change for better or for worse. Many people go to church while they are young [and *oh-so-influential* and *brainwashable*] and yet they *still* have the capacity to decide for themselves. I know this, because many people leave the church *all* *the* *time*.

Also, it's not as if I'm giving the school the legal right to forbid someone from going to public schools. Your question is completely out of context. It's like asking, "So, will this black family be able to go to the school controlled by the KKK?". No matter how I answer, I'll probably be percieved as guilty. It's obvious that you ran your eyes across the page and only tried to understand enough so that you could argue.

My only point in that context was whether or not a community could have the right to decide for themselves, under the condition that they all agree. This has nothing to do with a real life situation. *NOTHING*. As impossible as this situation is, you still won't even grant me a "yes". Always forcing the belief that nobody can get along. However, you would never allow that. Always assuming the worst, you bring in concepts of forbidding and antagonism. You simply refused to even answer my question. It just goes to show that you insist on controlling *everybody* even a large body agrees *among* *themselves*, but disagrees with *you*.

The desire to have the government control the schools is only a desire by evil people who insist on keeping the status quo, because it already suits them.

Re:Abstain or Protection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3115202)

Would somebody pass the fucking asparagus!? -- Lester Burnam (American Beauty)

"Please pass those goddam spuds!" -- Gordie LaChance (The Body)

Re:Abstain or Protection? (2, Informative)

PurpleFloyd (149812) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115830)

Note: this is slightly OT, sorry moderators.
So the school which is predominately protestant can use the filtering software to push out mormon, catholic, jewish, and muslim (oh yeah, and gays, and sex education materials, and abortion) sites because they got to choose for themselves?
I am a protestant Christian (ELCA Lutheran, to be precise), and I have no problem with Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, gays, lesbians, sex-ed, abortion, or many other things that more conservative Christians would have a heart attack over. I think the term you are looking for is "conservative Christian".

Also, a private school would be perfectly free to choose whatever filtering it wants -- even if it wants to allow only conservative Christian sites, for example, it is perfectly free to do that. Only public schools are bound by the Constitution. Of course, you are in turn perfectly free to not send your children there.

Re:Abstain or Protection? (2)

Stary (151493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115340)

I realize that there is a slippery slope here, but why can't we allow each school to decide for themselves what their immediate needs are?

Because then some would decide like one swedish religious school did before being hit by the government; they decided for themselves that their immediate need was to teach children that cancer was due to lack of faith.

Either filter everything or filter equally from all perspectives... the internet is unique in that it contains so much opinion-stuff that's fluffed up to look like facts. Teaching children to sift through this data and decide for themselves what to trust would be enormously much more valuable than teaching them the only sites on the 'net that works is www.microsoft.com and www.myreligionofchoice.com.

Re:Abstain or Protection? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115636)

Because then some would decide like one swedish religious school did before being hit by the government; they decided for themselves that their immediate need was to teach children that cancer was due to lack of faith.


How would you *know* that *any* of the US schools would do that? That's only a rehtorical question.

Secondly, to play the devil's advocate, how do any of us know that it isn't due to a lack of faith? Again, a rehtorical question.

The Bible has a story about a man born blind. The disciples asked Jesus, "Who sinned? This man or his parents?". He replied, "Neither. This was done that I should be glorified.". And then Jesus healed him, which stirred up a lot of controversy. By the way, that was only my paraphrase. Whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ or the Bible, is beside my point. Whether or not you believe that it was morally acceptable for God to allow that man to be born blind is beside my point. My point is that the Bible teaches that suffering isn't due to lack of faith. That school to having the right to teach that belief wasn't bad. It was their belief that was bad, and even the Bible disagreed with them.

The way to remedy the situation is to teach the parents the truth so that they can tell their schools what to teach.

For you to have a valid point, you would have to show me that the government controlling our schools will *improve* the quality of education ["quality" in this discussion refers to accuracy and practicalness of what is being taught]. Through my idea, I'm sure that a lot of people will have bad education, but I think that as a whole, everybody will get a better one.

Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114689)

There doesn't seem to be any proof that the services' filtering is somehow affected by religions. All I see happening is that Conservative Christians buy filtering software (big surprised), and fund the companies which develop the software they buy.

Re:Nonsense (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114746)

It's not nonsense. Anytime that anybody has a view that's different from the Linux community and /. community, they are automatically wrong and legalistic. /. tells you about your rights online, and *YOU* *MUST* *OBEY*.

;-p

I'd like to examine slashdot bias in stories (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114718)

Honest. This is really out of hand. With the way that slashdot is now attempting to drive away its users with a subscription, this seems to be a bit hypocritical. Censorship? How is this any different than ModBombing or mass down moding of archived stories?

If we're going to be bantering around the term Censorship, we ought to look in the mirror.

Who submitted this BTW? The person who now needs to pay for the site? Hmm...may be time to look at the bias in story posting.

This article is such bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114727)

This just in: Some parents find homosexual, occult, and weapon-related websites objectionable for their young children! Vast right-wing conspiracy suspected! Film at 11!

Re:This article is such bullshit (2, Interesting)

spt (557979) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115075)

Some parents find homosexual, occult, and weapon-related websites objectionable

Exactly. So why is Native American history blocked as being occult, yet resurrection in a Christian context is allowed?

Re:This article is such bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3115216)

I found it interesting that the article says

For example, several solutions include a category called "Occult," which
might include constitutionally protected information about non-traditional religions based on Native American or Eastern philosophies. (emphasis mine)


Yet the article does not cite any examples of this actually occuring. I wonder why that might be?

Re:This article is such bullshit (2)

spt (557979) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115274)

Partly because the filterware vendors keep their blocklists secret and sue the crap out of anyone who tries to decrypt or criticise them [slashdot.org]

Re:This article is such bullshit (1)

ronc_LAemigre (465190) | more than 12 years ago | (#3117986)

I am on principle against filtering; however, this article is seeped in the moral relativism that pervades education thinking. The same issues that this article attacks as a threat are the ones that education advocacy groups want to see taught to as young as they possibly can to promulgate their beliefs. Alternative lifestyle and beliefs need to be accepted (and that acceptance needs to be indoctrinated at an early age)
It does not matter that certain religions or beliefs teach animal or human sacrifice, or that non-believers should be killed, that is as moral as any other belief. Grafitti is an art form, it does not matter if you deface or steal other people's property.
I do not want the schools (unless private) teaching Christianity or it's set of beliefs as doctrine; but, at the same time that the seperation of church and state came to be more broadly interpreted starting in the 1960's there has been nothing to replace it. One of the reasons that the Fundamentalist Christian organizations have been able to promote religion in the schools is that many of the parents feel that there has been wholesale abandonship of simple ideas of citizenship and cooperation. It has been replaced with the Nike mentality of "Just Do It" and if you screw over most everyone in your pursuit of doing it it is just their tough luck

Too long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114763)

Can someone sum this article up for me? I skimmed it, but nothing I saw mentioned seems inappropriate to me. Yes, some parents do not want their small children to read about condoms, and some companies provide software that allow the parents to block those sites. The parents may be Christian. Where's the religious bias?

Re:Too long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114801)

Some people seem to think that not permitting small children to see gaping assholes plugged with a penis or oozing semen, or pictures of swollen, maggot covered heads, or information calling for the death of all "niggers", "spics" and "dykes" is wrong. They accuse anyone who thinks that small children need to see graphic depictions of sex acts like a Cleveland Steamer of being Christian. Apparently only Christians dislike the Cleveland Steamer and lurid tales about paedophellia. And this, to some people, is blatantly biased.

Re:Too long (3, Insightful)

spt (557979) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115014)

The bias is that the filtering software is blocking religious sites that aren't Christian and letting through extreme Christian sites.

www.ExtremeIslamSite.Com : blocked
www.ExtremeChristSite.Com : allowed.

If you are a parent that would prefer your child not to be exposed to all extreme religious views then you are out of luck.

Re:Too long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3115196)

What blocked extremist Islamic sites are mentioned in the article?

Re:Too long (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 12 years ago | (#3116402)

The point of the article is that public schools and libraries- BY LAW- are required to use some kind of filterware, and the companies that write/publish this software won't say what sites they're blocking, and they often make it unneccesarily difficult to override the block list from an administrative level. What this means is that near-total control over what you can and can't see on the Net goes to the lowest bidder in the area.

Religious bias on Slashdot (-1)

Original AIDS Monkey (315494) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114842)

A recent study shows that Slashdot is accepting stories from religious figures such as "the rev matt".

When asked about Slashdot's relgious bias, Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda downplayed the connection between the religious affiliation of story submitters and the site's political leanings. "We accept stories from all types of readers. If a submitter is religious, that doesn't necessarily mean our content is geared toward that religion. If we were biased, our viewers would respond to that bias. The market corrects itself."

Malda declined comment when asked if the large proportion of smelly Linux hippies who view the site indicates a possible pro-Linux bias.

Ad bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114918)

I don't care about ads. I'm not paying to remove them, so I can't complain about their presence. What I will complain about is attaching an ad to the end of an article without any line breaks. Without said line breaks, the ad pushes the last line of the article down about 5 centimeters and makes reading the article unnaturally difficult.

It also results in the ad being placed randomly about the screen.

Please add a line break before every ad, making it appear in a standard place and giving the site a professional appearance.

Thank you.

Re:Ad bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3115088)

Never mind that. Did you see the freakin' URL for that banner? 221 characters long! Gotta be the longest I've ever seen.

To add insult to injury, they use doubleclick, too. :(

Re:Ad bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3115135)

No kidding, it seems to appear and disappear. Here's a picture of it. [sdstate.edu] That fucker is a monster.

Re:Ad bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3115145)

Gotta appreciate the IE window open to Trollaxor in the corner there... :-)

There will naturally be bias (1)

Karora (214807) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114965)

Since many of the organisations that buy these sorts of products have bias, they will select for that bias.Unless some significant market leader can manage to differentiate themselves as lacking in bias then these products will all end up reflecting conservative (american, christian) bias.

This is bad news for schools that want to avoid bias because the products that are most available will tend to be the ones that are successful in the whole market rather than in some underfunded part of it.

Time for OpenBlock? (3, Insightful)

Paul Johnson (33553) | more than 12 years ago | (#3114968)

Maybe the time has come for an Open Source web blocking program which provides for finer control, and maybe a selection of which blocking list to subscribe to.


The software side is pretty simple. A perl script tied to MySQL will do the job. All that is needed is for the people who say they want children protected from this stuff to list the sites that they need to be protected from.


Personally I'm more on the side of logging and dealing with infractions rather than trying to create a padded cell. But even that approach would benefit from a list of sites to watch for.


Paul.

Re:Time for OpenBlock? (2)

Deagol (323173) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115034)

Check out squidGuard (search freshmeat). As much as I loathe filtering software, if I was forced to set one up, I'd use squidGuard.

The URI list is the key (2)

harmonica (29841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115695)

Filtering software is totally simple, as you say (searching a string in a list - white or black list - is not that trivial, but Mr Knuth has written up a nice summary on that topic).

The problem with an open project to collect URIs is its very openness - if hundreds of people suggest sites that contain too much "extreme" content (of a sexual, ideological or whatever kind), who will decide if a given site is inappropriate? If it's not appropriate for 6-year-olds, is it appropriate for 12-year-olds? Will majority vote decide?

Your average christian will probably not quite understand why anyone would want to block something harmless about pigs (remember that Babe movie that could not be shown in some Muslim countries).

Some parent from the Netherlands quite likely wouldn't want to stop teenagers from looking at people posing naked as badly as another parent from the US Bible belt.

Even people who share a nationality or religion can have very diverse opinions.

It would be interesting to know if anyone has suggestions on how to make such a URI collection project work.

Re:Time for OpenBlock? (2)

StormyMonday (163372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122767)

I kicked this around as a busness idea a while back.

The software is completely straightforward, except for string-matching algorithms. (This just means that we probably couldn't use standard regexp stuff, as the block/pass lists will be quite long.)

First thing it would do on connection is read the filter list(s) from whatever lists the user subscribes to. A user subscribes to lists that match his/her prejudices about what kids should be allowed to see.

The software should certainly be open source, but the filter lists need full time maintainers. Salaries. Offices. Organization. Marketing. This means money. 'Way beyond my organizational abilities.

Sweet Jesus (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3114982)

I wish some Christians would come to my house and block the BIG FUCKING slashdot ad on my screen.

Article has significant religious bias of its own (4, Interesting)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115232)

It says at one point:

Willard says in her report that the first time she visited the Global Internet Ministries web site, the lead article on the site was "Have we shamed the face of Jesus? Muslims in our pulpits," and the article drew the following conclusion: "... when we present Islam as another truth, we spit on the face of Christ and those who serve His kingdom in Islamic countries."

This is on its face unremarkable for a Christian website, so I can only deduct that Willard found the statements alarming for some reason. Certainly they're biased, and considering the source we should not be shocked. But what's implied when this material, especially that last quote, is held up as a bad example? It seems that the correct point of view is that Islam is "another truth!"

Are these people so unthoughtful on this subject that they cannot see that this is, in itself, a religious point of view? (I doubt it.) Are they indoctrinating schoolchildren into this religion? (From what I've seen, yes.) Exactly how brazen do you have to be to bray about the fictional "wall of separation between Church and State" supposedly found in the First Amendment, and then go around preaching a religion of your own that for no reason that's ever said aloud seems to be exempt? (An awful lot, but that seems to be characteristic of the Politically Correct crowd.)

Hypocrites, the lot of them.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (2)

Stary (151493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115416)

It seems that the correct point of view is that Islam is "another truth!"

As much as it must come as a shock to you, Islam IS "another truth". In fact, Islam is just as much a truth as christianity. If you have a problem with that, then you are perfectly welcome to block all islamic web sites at home, but if you're trying to argue that islamic web sites should be blocked at schools because islam isn't "another truth" then you're truly a moron. In the true spirit of "innocent until proven guilty" I will assume you're just confused.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (2)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115813)

I would think a geek would know better. Two mutually contradictory statements cannot both be true. This is fundamental to any consistent system of thought. Islam and Christianity contradict each other. They cannot both be true.

Really, most religions to not employ such unsound reasoning -- Hinduism is the only one that springs to mind that does -- so I do religion a disservice by calling the idea that contradictory statements can both be true a religious idea. But since it springs from the currently fashionable religious syncretism, I can't think of anything else to call it.

You have read an argument into my post that wasn't there. I wasn't advocating the blocking of any sites at all; I was just pointing out that the author of the article had a religious bias of his own. You can do with that what you will.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (2)

Eagle7 (111475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3116132)

It seems that the correct point of view is that Islam is "another truth!"

Yes, to an objective observer - i.e. an observer that sees all religious views as having equal merit, Islam is just as truthful as Christianity. And for one religion to assert itself over another with such strong language can easily be interpreted as a hateful message. In the least, it certainly doesn't encourage the people that read that "Christian" website to show any Christian love to their Islamic neighbors (or the Islamic countries that some of them are apparently guests in).

You, sir, are confusing objectivity and Religion. Asserting one Religion over another in a derogatory and hateful manner is a matter of bigotry (or, as you would have it, Faith). Asserting that all Religions have an equal right to existence and an equal claim in "truth" is nothing more than openminded objectivity.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (3, Insightful)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3116280)

Your argument "begs the question", that is, it assumes the point under discussion. Your statement that all religious views have equal merit is not at all objective. It's a definite opinion in and of itself; a religious opinion at that since that's the subject to which it relates. As such it is no more provable on its face than any of the religions it seeks to syncretize -- or make equally irrelevant, which works out to the same thing.

You, sir, are confusing your own opinion with the Real Truth, and further confusing any opinions that contrdict yours with bigotry. I could make a better case for bigotry on your own part, since you failed to notice that I did not advocate anything being preached by the website being cited, not even Christianity itself, and instead imputed an opinion to me which I did not express but which you thought you could generalize from the context.

You obviously did not read my reply to Stary, but just to clear things up: It's incorrect to assume that I share the point of view of the website the article's author found so disturbing. I have not seen the actual website, just the quotation from it. To judge from the name of site, I probably do not agree with most of it. The point, which you would have seen me put more explicitly had you read my earlier reply, is simply that two contradictory statements cannot both be true, which is a foundational assumption for any logically consistent system.

You make another common error when you connect the assertion of the truth of one religion with a denial of the rights of others to exist. This is false. You err further when you associate faith with hatred. That's nothing more than flamebait, which is the tactic of someone who knows very well he's on shaky ground so I'll take point as conceded -- although I will mention that it's quite possible to believe that another person is mistaken on a subject without hating him. Your last claim I have already dealt with for the most part. Your website betrays your actual religious point of view, which is what you're preaching here and attempting to pass off as objective reality. Why you thought you could pull this off when you provide the link yourself I don't quite understand.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (2)

Eagle7 (111475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3118383)

Your statement that all religious views have equal merit is not at all objective. It's a definite opinion in and of itself; a religious opinion at that since that's the subject to which it relates.

Hrm... in that case, what would be an "objective" view of Religions? Or would you advocate that an objective view does not exist?

and further confusing any opinions that contrdict yours with bigotry

Incorrect - I never said this, and I never said you were a Bigot. I said: "Asserting one Religion over another in a derogatory and hateful manner is a matter of bigotry", which is a very different thing.

To judge from the name of site, I probably do not agree with most of it.

I don't think I ever said, although I may have accidentally implied (but I don't think so), that you did agree. I tried to keep my comments to your stated opinion on the passage at hand - and not to your personal beliefs.

You err further when you associate faith with hatred.

Once again, I did not do this. I associated faith that is asserted in a dergoatory or hateful manner as being on shakey ground. I belive that this is true - especially when the faith in question (as do many philosophies) promotes universal love. But this is bordering on another discussion.

although I will mention that it's quite possible to believe that another person is mistaken on a subject without hating him.

I agree whole heartedly... once again, my comments were specific to the kind of language that I feel promotes more misunderstanding and hate between Religions that otherwise.

Your website betrays your actual religious point of view, which is what you're preaching here and attempting to pass off as objective reality.

My website states my personal beliefs, and my political beliefs. Yes, I have been arguing for the Seperation of Church and State, and I belive in this. I don't see anything wrong with supporting my views, and I have tried to do so in as factual manner as I can. As for this particular conversation, other than my belief that Religions should respect each other and not encourage hate of other beliefs, I don't see how my opinions have anything to do with this. I provide the link to my page, and the links on my page, partially so people can go there and evaluate what I say against my own slant on the world. If anything, I feel this increases my integrity in this forum.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3121384)

First, I think it's very cute how you capitalize the "Real Truth". It looks so much more convincing that way.

Truth is subjective. Other people's truth is differnet from your own. Truth is not fact. Neither Christianity nor any other religion's mythology has any facts to support it. There is no more evidence to support the contention that Jesus was God than there is that King Authur had a magic sword and was assisted by a wizard named Merlin.

Of course, you can choose to believe either story, as you can choose to believe in any other fairy tale or just-so story. But there is no evidence backing such beliefs.

Scythe

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (2)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122022)

An interesting consequence of the liberal takeover of our institutions of higher learning is the degredation of the language. By any reasonable standard, your definition of "truth" is absurd. Just so you know, I meant it in the ontological sense it always had before people with brains of mush began to muck about with the meaning of the word.

But it's plain your anti-Christian bias prevented you from reading the post you're replying to very carefully. Whatever I actually believe, I did not characterize my own views as the Real Truth. Pay attention next time.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3117050)

I also took a look at your website, and yes, you are a bigot. If there is truth in everything, then why can't we teach the *truthful* and *objective* facts in Christianity? or other religions? If the facts, are true and they are from other religions, then no problem. I don't mind.

Why don't you have any links on your web site that put down other religions because of their negative aspects?

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (2)

Eagle7 (111475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3118461)

I also took a look at your website, and yes, you are a bigot.

How are my views (expressed via the links on my website) bigotted? I am shocked that an open-minded person could think this.

If the facts, are true and they are from other religions, then no problem. I don't mind.

Problem is, that as far as schools are concerned, any facts that are backed up with Faith alone are not facts, they are beliefs. And you can teach those as beliefs (which happens all the time in History, Literature, and Comparative Religion classes), but not as fact. I find different Religions and philosophies intriguing, and I would love it if a standard course in our schools was a good comparative religion course. But teach religious beliefs as fact is just wrong in a public school. Note that more fussy things, such as ethics and civic morals, which are in general shared all religions, are promoted in schools, becuase this is what the majority of society supports. But they are (or should be) promoted without a specific relgious bent.

Why don't you have any links on your web site that put down other religions because of their negative aspects?

Huh? Becuase I don't see this as approprate. MY website lets other's know what I belive, because I think what I believe is pretty cool (which is good, since if I didn't, I'd probably be pretty unhappy). Other people can think whatever they want (although if I don't agree, I'll argue it with them) But they have that right, and I won't bash them by putting up "anti-whatever" links. What I don't like, and what I consider wrong and don't respect, is people bashing other people on thier beliefs in a hateful manner.

So in other words... (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3118469)

Just because a Christian says Christianity is best, that's ok, because they are Christians, so they aren't biased, or even if they are, that's ok too, because the bias is right out front?

But I bet when Osama bin Laden says Islam is best, and sets out to prove it, even though he's way out front with that bias, that's not quite ok, is it?

I think I get the picture. You'd'a done great during the Crusades.

Re:So in other words... (1)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3121984)

It's interesting that you have to reach back 800 years to find something you can point the finger at Christians over.

But in this case you're pointing the finger in the wrong direction. I'm an Eastern Orthodox Christian. The Orthodox were thrown out of the shrines of Palestine by the Crusaders, who thought they were the wrong kind of Christian, and the greatest city of Eastern Christianity, Constantinople, was sacked by the 4th Crusade.

But even without these things, I always find it interesting that people like you who say things like this never ask the simple question: how did the Moslems get to own the Holy Land to begin with? (Hint: they weren't invited.)

Hint: (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122319)

Neither were the Christians.

Re:Hint: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3122618)

Um... Christianity started there.

Uh huh (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122738)

Wasn't too popular with the prevailing opinion, was it? The existing occupants didn't exactly spread their arms in joyous welcome.

One stupid argument (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122757)

This idea that Muslims don't belong in the Holy Land because they weren't invited is incredible. Christians weren't invited either; Jesus was a reknowned trouble maker. And it also depends on how wide you define your area. Mohammed may not have been born in Palestine, but he was born a lot closer to it than Christians were to most of Europe, not to mention the Americas. I don't recall the natives inviting the Christians into the Americas. Nor the Philipines, Australia, etc.

As for going back 800 years, keerist (sic) almighty, who said I had to go back that far? Look at current day Ireland; maybe you should go their to fight the infidels. Only problem is, which side is the Christian side? They evidently both think that the other isn't.

So go back and answer your own question: who invited the Christians to own the Holy Land? Hint: they weren't invited.

Further hint: the Jews weren't invited either.

In fact, in almost every case, the current occupants of ANY place weren't invited. They just sort of invited themselves.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3121885)

Hmm. I happen to be a Muslim-American, and I think that tricking schools into blocking Islamic sites by categorizing them as "occult" is inane.

It is within their rights if some Christians don't want Muslims to speak at their own churches, but it is not fair for these same Christians to prevent Islam, or any major world religion, to be discussed and known about in the public schools. Even in private Christian schools, I would imagine that a non-polemic study of world religions would be beneficial.

Given that Muslims revere Jesus as a messenger from God, it is not fair to justify this censorship on the grounds of disrespect to Jesus (even if this was a valid grounds for Internet censorship in the USA). As far as disrespect to the efforts of "fellow" missionaries, this is ludicrous.

The people designing censorship software for schools have a responsibility to demonstrate that a missionary agenda is not reflected in the censorship. Otherwise they lose credibility as being a valid censor, and become a tool for forwarding that agenda.

If you read the article carefully, the issue is whether the censors themselves are seeking to obscure Muslim views (which might tempt them to obfuscate these sites). From the article:

NETcomply, which sells St. Bernard, Symantec, and 8e6 Technologies products to schools (as well as its own filtered ISP service, called QuickComply), is run by 711.Net Inc., which also operates the Global Internet Ministries.

I hope that you don't feel that public school students should restricted from viewing information from non-Christian websites on religion, since here you would be in the extreme minority.

I'm also curious regarding your comment that "these people" (i.e. Willard) is the kind of person attempting to indoctrinate schoolchildren into some non-Christian religion. On the face of it, it seems absurd. But perhaps there's more to it?

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (2)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122116)

Hmm. I happen to be a Muslim-American, and I think that tricking schools into blocking Islamic sites by categorizing them as "occult" is inane.

I'd have called you an American who happened to be Muslim, since Islam is not an ethnic group that normally gets a hyphen (a wrong-headed procedure in any event) but a religion. I am not a Christian-American, but an American who is an Orthodox Christian.

But you're right. It's inane, and everything else you said. But that's beside the point of my post, which was that a significant bias was evident in the article. When bias is present, it renders even the factual content of the article suspect, and to me this is especially true when the article claims to be unbiased. That means there is already one lie present.

The point of view that informs the bias is that all religions are equally true. Surely you do not believe that Christianity is as true as Islam, do you?

Let me use a concrete example. We Christians say that Jesus was God incarnate, an idea repugnant to Muslims. Muslims say that Jesus was just a prophet, which is blasphemy to Christians. Are we both right? Are both statements true? How can they be; they contradict! But what is being taught in the schools is the point of view you've seen reflected in the other posts in this thread: that all religions are equally true. This is so obviously false that it's a bit of a wonder anyone believes it, but it's very common. And schoolchildren are being indoctrinated in it. The religion -- or more precisely, the religious doctrine -- is called syncretism. Most religions have something to say about syncretism. In Hinduism, it's the norm. But it's antithetical to Orthodox Christianity, and also Islam. It ought not be taught.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3122383)

Where does Willard ever imply that Islam is "another truth!"? You're imputing that viewpoint to her. Straw man argument.


If filtering software becomes legally mandatory, and the software has religious bias embedded in its default configuration, then this is potentially a constitutional problem, regardless of what a reporter like Willard, or anyone else for that matter, happens to think about Christianity, Islam, or the contents of any particular website.


As for the "fictional[ity]" of the "wall of separation between Church and State", what else would you call it when one entity (Church) is protected from another entity (State) by a Free Exercise Clause, and protection is effected in the other direction via the Establishment Clause? With only a slight poetic license, this two-way protection is properly called a "wall". Feel free to take a Civics or Constitutional Law class if you require further enlightenment...

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (2)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122688)

Where does Willard ever imply that Islam is "another truth!"? You're imputing that viewpoint to her.

Re-read my quote from the article, and then ask why Willard found it remarkable. I'm sure there was a lot of other material from this website. What was so unusual about this particular quote unless she particularly disapproved of it?

The software filtering companies are simply serving their largest markets. I quite agree that it's (in general) unhealthy to filter out websites based on the fact they present a religion other than those on the "approved" list. But that's what the filtering software market wants right now. If it ever becomes mandatory in libraries and schools, I guarantee you that market forces will cause more politically and religiously neutral filters to spring up to fulfull the need. That's how a free market works.

As far as taking a class in Constitutional Law, I'd only consider if it requires me to actually read the Constitution. It's not at all difficult these days even in reputable law schools to fulfull the Constitutional Law requirements without that. But really, the Constitution is written in plain (if slightly archaic by now) English. Banning any form of religious expression on public property is a long way from merely forbidding the establishment of a church, which is what the Constitution actually does. But suppose the wall did exist: the syncretic crap that gets shoved down students' throats these days is every bit as objectionable as outright proselytism of Christianity. It's in direct contradiction to the teachings of my religion, and a great many more besides. Only, the people who shout loudest about the wall of separation deign not to notice it.

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3123126)

Eagle7 is basically saying that no school is smart enough to decide what to do for themselves.

Also, have you noticed that there's lots of truth from every religion, when he's trying to make his point, but when we try to make ours, we are complete imbiliciles who can't learn and evaluate the facts.

Come on, Eagle7. This is ridiculous!

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3122388)

Is truth binary? You claim that the idea that two contradictory ideas cannot be true is the foundation of any coherent thought system, but what about statements that are neither false nor true, but either undetermined or at some intermediate fuzzy position? Two such such statements could well be 'equally true' (note: this doesn't _necessarily_ imply that they're either true or false!) despite being contradictory. As an example, 'Light is a prticle' and 'Light is a wave' are contradictory, yet equally true, no?

(Caveat: IANAQP)

Re:Article has significant religious bias of its o (2)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122656)

I caught the implications of "equally true" in the post in question, but as the author seemed to be saying (as an absolute) that both were false, I chose to regard it as flamebait and left it lying there.

Sometimes the apparent contradiction arises only because of a hidden assumption. The particle/wave duality of light is like that. Saying "light is a wave" and "light is a particle" are both true is only a contradiction if we add "a particle cannot be a wave" and "a wave cannot be a particle" to the mix. In fact, physics tells us that all particles can be described as waves, so there is no real contradiction here.

Religions are most often not like that. There's a clear example from Christianity and Islam as an example. Christianity says, "Jesus is the Son of God." Islam says, "Jesus is not the Son of God." This is simple logical contradiction requiring no hidden assumptions to fully understand. Both statements cannot be true. Logically, either one, or the other, or both are false.

Offtopic: light and matter (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3123138)

The particle/wave duality of light is like that. Saying "light is a wave" and "light is a particle" are both true is only a contradiction if we add "a particle cannot be a wave" and "a wave cannot be a particle" to the mix. In fact, physics tells us that all particles can be described as waves, so there is no real contradiction here.


I would go so far as to say that waves of *any* energy form, require matter. But alas! I'm not a scientist, and I don't have evidence, so Eagle7 won't let me be *right*, without answering to him. *Sigh*

planetout... (3, Insightful)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3115241)

I wonder if they filter out planetout? Wouldn't want those kids finding out that being gay is not as bad as they religions fanitics want you to think. Or the fact that these religious groups that say love thy neightbor, really teach love thy neighbor, but hate them if they are gay.

Oh heaven forbid that people learn that sodem and gamoreh(sp) has nothing to do with sodemy.

What would people think if they found out about the gay penguins in the aquarium. Oh my!

Some of these people are the same ones that think that prayer should be allowed in public schools. However they don't want to just allow it they want to require it! P>Your going to hell if you moderate this down!!!

Re:planetout... (2)

s20451 (410424) | more than 12 years ago | (#3121657)

It's Sodom and Gomorrah, as in:

Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom - both young and old - surrounded the house. They called to Lot, `Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.' (Genesis 19:4-5)

However, some scholars point to the following passage as the real reason why Sodom was destroyed:

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49)

Re:planetout... (2)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3122371)

"so that we can have sex with them"

This is where the problem is. The transulation of "tok know was converted to " have sex with" was misinterpreted. It was actually:

" that we may know them."

There are Jewish scholars will tell you that "to know" has many meaning and while sex is one of them it is not necessarily the corect one here. I.E. "to know" as a friend or as a person. I "know" people and have not had sex with them.

Also in Ezekiel, as you pointed out said the sins of sister Sodem were "arrogance, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." This would indicate that the reason that Soden was destroyed was not for sex acts but tbecause they were wicked.

Which is worse: to commit a consensual act between two consenting people, or to treat someone as less of a person?

Filtering software = unsupervied fun (1)

The Donald (525605) | more than 12 years ago | (#3116035)

There are a lot of sites out there that I would not want my kids (if I had any) to see out there on the net. At home, they would know I'll be around, checking up on them, making sure they do not surf over to the adult sites, or the other sites I don't feel it's right for a person their age to see.

Pardon me, isn't this the best filter out there: supervision. If a child knows he is being watched: s/he will not break the rules. Very odd how we, as a nation, rally around a cause, such as protecting young kids from the "Nasties of the Net", when it admits that out education system allows our children to be unsupervied for some time. Wouldn't it make more sense to put more money into training more teachers, instead of buying software?

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