Talking Points 7th November

Good morning/afternoon/evening – Obama dominated headlines immediately after the election, but now world leaders are competing for the US President-elect’s attention.

Governments in countries like China, India, Pakistan, Russia and even Iran are looking to what an Obama will mean for them and their neighbours. But what kind of relationship do you want to see between your country and the US? If you’re outside the US, what would you like an Obama presidency to do for your country? And if you’re inside America, what do you think an Obama foreign policy should focus on? What does the world want from Obama?


The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo is getting worse for civilians caught between government troops and rebel forces and the UN is being accused of not doing enough to protect civilians. The UK-based charity Save the Children has also reported that armed groups in the Congo are kidnapping children from school to be recruited as child soldiers.
A spokesman for UN defended the UN troops in the Congo saying:

“You cannot fire when you have civilians on the road running in all directions. If you start firing in that situation you end up killing a lot of civilians.”

What should the role of the UN be in the Congo? Should there be a military solution? Is it right to always follow the rules of combat in international peace-keeping, even if civilians are being killed?

65 Responses to “Talking Points 7th November”

  1. 1 justin Mann
    November 7, 2008 at 11:37

    The world wants something aken to a mesanic figgure from an Obama. So far since the election, Obama has been raised on a pedistal of greatness that he has not even earned yet. The real challenge for us living here in the United States and the rest of the world is to wade through the empty promises, and determine what is realistic given the current constraints that are placed on the U.S presidentt.

  2. 2 Shane
    November 7, 2008 at 11:38

    I am tremendously optimistic that President elect Obama will effectively rehabilitate America’s image on the international stage after 8 years of Clintonian corporate neo-liberalism and 8 years of Bush’s utterly insane, war waging neo-conservatism, but that being said, I and many of my peers will hold him to the highest of standards. I want my president to shift the global discussion towards non proliferation of nuclear and all other arms, and take a profound leadership roll on the environmental crisis affecting our air, water, and land. In short, the whole global paradigm must be utterly changed. We need to focus on lasting peace and responsible stewardship for the earth we have been bessed to live upon. I voted for Barack Obamaa believing that he may be the one to help us begin to achieve these lofty goals.

    Portland, Oregon, USA

  3. November 7, 2008 at 11:50

    Something we were discussing over on the WHYS…After the Show Forum was this rather horrific BBC report on the EXECUTION BY STONING of a 13 year old girl in Somailia.

    This happened just as a feature film dealing with the subject, THE STONING OF SORAYA M. is going on release in the cinemas.

    Is this barbaric form of punishment ever acceptable in a modern world, whatever one’s religious belief or legal system? With the focus being placed on this practice by news stories like this and the feature film, will the world begin to act against countries that still allow stoning?

  4. 4 justin Mann
    November 7, 2008 at 12:08

    You are right to hold the U.S president to a high standard Shane, we as the electorate should. However, what is real, and what is campaign rhetoric? Obama willnot have a long honeymoon period at all .

  5. 5 justin Mann
    November 7, 2008 at 12:24

    We have heard the chants of “yes we can” all through the campaign, and now the chant has changed to “yes we will”. I hope that finally the era of passionate apathism is over here in the U.S

  6. 6 justin Mann
    November 7, 2008 at 12:27

    I wonder what a democratic president means for those of us who are disabled. Can I as a blind person expect more pmphasis on regulations that will make things more accessiblbe: technology, various new media? Can I expect the government to start favoring disabled candidates when job applications are being looked at? Such interesting times are these.

  7. 7 Pat
    November 7, 2008 at 12:33

    For the gentlement who has a hard time with my writing skills, try not getting so caught up in other peoples “so called problems”. I am sure you have plenty of your own.
    Any by teh way, my grammar and sr;;illing are off because all 10 finger tips are knujmb (heart condition). I have sojnt toi mnay hurs trying to edit. not sorkth ith to try and satisfy the angry pople l= (like you) ou thew.

  8. November 7, 2008 at 12:35

    Barack Obama Won’t Change Anything!
    TEHRAN – Change is long overdue in Iran, but it doesn’t mean US President Elect Barack Obama will change anything. Civil agenda, the rule of law, legitimacy of Parliament and common sense are just a few samples of what we lack in Iran.
    We have problems with Washington and Europe, but Tehran must first respond to public calls for toleration, freedom of speech, release of political prisoners and honesty, including regular checks on government expenditure.
    Two armies, two navies, two air force, we can’t afford it. The high, almighty clerical establishment must relinquish control. It’s stranglehold on the masses and monopoly of wealth has driven the nation to ruin.

  9. 9 Peter, Portland, OR, USA
    November 7, 2008 at 12:56

    The biggest crisis facing the United States and the world today is global warming. The second biggest crisis facing us all today is insufficient energy supplies (primarily oil) to meet the world’s growth demands for business-as-usual, thereby threatening a potentially catastrophic global economic collapse. Without sufficient energy to foster growth, the global economy cannot function.

    Ironically, and thankfully, the solutions to both crisis are virtually the same — 1) dramatic curtailment of fossil-fuel energy use on a global scale (as the largest energy consumer on the planet, the USA must take the lead on this), and 2) the rapid and massive development and deployment of alternative and sustainable energy sources that don’t pollute.

    Mr. Obama MUST address these two issues with immediacy. If he misses fixing these problems, then it’s mostly over for the majority of people on the planet anyway.

    It is astonishing how deeply entrenched the need for abundant supplies of oil and fossil fuels are in our daily lives across the planet. Does the world understand this?

  10. 10 selena in Canada
    November 7, 2008 at 12:56


    I read the report of the stoning and I am sick. It distresses me even to be identified as a human being.

    Aside from the stoning, (where people watched and did nothing) what is it that goes on in the mind of a person that s/he can think it is alright to punish a child for being raped, or a woman for adultery for that matter?

    Lest we think that we are lily-white, even on this forum sometime back there were people who thought that the way women dress and act contributes to rape.

    There are also people who think that people should suffer rather than be allowed to die with dignity.

    Those things (and others) originate with religion. When are we going to keep our religion to ourselves and give everyone human rights?

  11. 11 VictorK
    November 7, 2008 at 13:10

    @Bob & Selena: re the stoning. This is Islam. If that’s how Muslims wish to manage their affairs (and I don’t recall a syllable of protest against this stoning from any corner of the Muslim world, which was perfectly orthodox) then it should be their business and nobody else’s. It’s not for ‘the world’ (i.e. the ‘crusader’ West) to interfere in how sovereign states and indigenous communities choose to order their lives. One of the more welcome messages of the Obama victory was, ‘No more neo-colonialist wars of aggression under the guise of liberal self-righteousness.’ Amen to that.

    Re Congo: this is what happens when you have too much ethnic and cultural diversity in a society – antagonism, ethnic racism, balkanisation, violence, societal, collapse & 5 million plus dead, not to mention the unknown number of women and girls who have been systematically raped because of their ethnicity.

    The UN can’t do anything. Only countries with a large and competent military force can make a difference. China is one of them, but only cares about African minerals, not African lives. And African countries have made it clear that they don’t want Western intervention. The only solution is a UN-AU sponsored partition of the Democratic Republic of Congo along ethnic lines.

  12. 12 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 13:18

    @Akbar Javadi

    Akbar I understood why the Shah was overthrown but I never understood why the Iranians would then install a more brutal dictatorship.
    The Iranians had the power in their hands to be a power in the Middle East subsidized by America who would have helped further develop your petrochemical industries and military prowess.
    The Iranian people had prosperity in their hands and threw it away to return to 7th century Islamic oppression. What were people thinking?

  13. 13 Jennifer
    November 7, 2008 at 13:31

    Re: What does the world want from Obama?

    The world wants Obama to walk on water~deliver on the promises he has made. I wonder what’s going to happen when one doesn’t get the attention they feel they deserve…With that said, I’d like him to focus on national security and energy independence.

  14. November 7, 2008 at 13:49

    When President Sarkozy calls President Elect Obama he will know he is Sarkozy and not Marc-Antoine Audette.

  15. 15 leti in palma
    November 7, 2008 at 13:50

    ah congo..
    the heart of darkness or the projection of white eurocentric fears..about the “other”??
    too often this excuses us from thinking about whats REALLY going on.. and we KNOW its all about coltan.
    If you don’t know what this means there are plenty of places to find out about it, its not as sexy as blood diamonds BUT most of you who have computers and/or mobile phones are walking around with coltan..and the fighting and excesses going on at the moment in congo are to do with control of the mines..
    what to do???

  16. 16 selena in Canada
    November 7, 2008 at 13:50


    Good to see you back. 🙂

    It is distressing to see the lack of protest re the stoning and especially from the Muslims.

    You probably won’t agree but, in my view, it wouldn’t take long for us to go back to burning witches.

    All progress is made by decisions of people to agree to disagree. There are many, many people following religious lines who think that women are the root of all evil. Yet, they are constrained by well-off societies until something goes wrong.

    Presently we are on the cusp of something big. No one knows how the chips are going to fall. But if the economy goes into a depression people will not be so quick to praise or ignore the Emperor’s new clothes.

    Veneers are very easily removed and the civility of our society is merely a veneer.

  17. November 7, 2008 at 14:08

    @ VictorK

    I think you make a mistake lumping all Muslims into one group. Even in the Islamic religion, the idea of stoning as a punishment is deeply controversial and under review.

    In Iran, for example, stoning as a punishment has been “suspended” although they’ve stopped short of an all-out ban.

    Clearly “the west” can’t storm in on a new crusade but, as with all situations, things aren’t all black and white. There are ways of exerting encouragement without an armed invasion. In this case I suspect that, often, those opposed to stoning would be pushing at an open door anyway.

  18. 18 VictorK
    November 7, 2008 at 14:18

    @Selena: thanks for the welcome.

    Though I’m critical of Islam in the West, I try to be as respectful as I can of Islam in its own setting. To me this is genuine ‘diversity’: accepting other ways of life, however much they may differ from your own. The only alternative to that is to revive the Bush doctrine that the people of country A have a right to force their customs and values on the people of country B. Stark imperialism.

    I’m sure there’s no danger of witch-hunts in Canada. But they do happen in other parts of the world, especially Africa. But once again I take the view that if some practice is to be ended then its reform must be a local growth and not forced from the outside. And if the people who engage in the practice don’t want to abolish it (and stoning adulteresses is intrinsically Islamic) , then that should be the end of the matter. Those of us lucky enough to have been born in countries like Canada and the UK can only learn from what happens elsewhere to be more appreciative of our cultural and social inheritance, which makes stoning and witch-hunting barbaric relics of the distant past.

  19. 19 Kelsie in Houston
    November 7, 2008 at 14:27

    HA! Yes, and I think the Canadian government in general will welcome the chance to work with someone who 1) knows Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s name; and 2) is not familiar with this apocryphal “Prime Minister of Québec.”

    And his state doesn’t even share a border with Canada…amazing.

  20. November 7, 2008 at 14:35

    Peter in Portland is absolutely right. Get to grips with climate change (starting with diversion of energy sources) or perish.

    Ongoing major problem: the economy, which is bringing down the world.

    International politics: ‘ Jaw, not war’ as Churchill termed it. America is not the world’s policeman. If America puts the brake on arms proliferation, what an example to the world. And what a way to save money. Enough nuclear devices already exist to blow us all into kingdom come. This is not a game of ‘chicken’, this is survival of the human race. The enemies we face are terrorists, who cannot be fought conventionally.

    The Russians are responding to their perception of the threat of NATO and its installations in Europe. Let’s not have another cold war.

    Obama is not the messiah. He cannot save the world. But he thinks and walks in the right direction. His values are the ones we need, to address the unprecedented problems we face. His choice of officials to take responsibility for the many issues will be crucial. I’d rather trust his judgement on that, than anybody’s.

    His desire to provide medical care for everybody should be supported, not criticised by the fortunate people who can afford it. If America can afford to put men in space, fight two wars and bail out the banks, it can afford health care.
    Why is that issue less important than space travel?

    I cannot remember a head of state who faced more urgent problems than this one, many of them resulting from the incompetence of his predecessors. Don’t expect miracles, but be glad we have an intelligent man of principle in charge.

  21. 21 VictorK
    November 7, 2008 at 14:44

    @Bob: I have enough respect for Muslims to allow them to understand their own religion.

    Stoning to death for adultery didn’t spring out of nowhere. It’s practiced from Pakistan to Iran to Somalia for a simple reason: it’s part of Islam (in this case hadith, rather than the Koran).

    I’d be interested to know of a single Islamic scholar who has ever attempted to challenge stoning on Islamic grounds, rather than – as with the Turks a while ago – as a prudent move in public relations in order to spare Islam the damage to its international reputation that comes from following its precepts.

    There can be no reasonable controversy about a hadith in which Muhammed orders a couple to be stoned to death for adultery (Bukhari). But the practice, and its reform or retention, is strictly a matter for Muslims.

    What many Westerners object to about Islam is often central to Islam, and not as they would persuade themselves aberrant, an accretion, or a matter of controversy. I have no objection to any aspect of Islam that Muslims choose to implement in their own countries.

  22. 22 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 14:45

    If Muslims want to live under 7th Century barbaric practices they have every right to do so until Muslims decide that they would rather reform themselves and join the civilized world.
    When they inflict their barbaric perversions upon the world they cross a line and just as a parent would discipline a child Muslims need to be spanked and sent back to their country to stand in the corner.
    If they want to act like children, they should be treated like children.

    ….and can we do away with the word “crusader” as it is meaningless and further illustrates that Muslims are stuck in their barbaric past.

  23. 23 VictorK
    November 7, 2008 at 14:49

    I hope enough people are sufficiently interested in the Congo issue for it to be the subject of today’s programme.

    For years the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster. But it hasn’t received a fraction of the attention lavished on such fashionable non-issues as Palestine.

    5 million dead deserve better.

  24. 24 gary
    November 7, 2008 at 15:00

    @ Bob in Queensland
    @ Selena
    @ VictorK
    Yes, something can be done about it. Violence never works, but this incident, and all others like it, can be more widely reported. This act isn’t religious ritual; it is crime. Most people on the planet recognize this. Indeed, most Moslems do also.
    Unfortunately, most individuals will not even think about an evil unless they are directly affected by it. This act is a crime. If Moslem friends are forced, in earnest conversations, to think about it (so as to concoct a defense), only then may they come face to face with its criminality. There’s about two billion Moslems out there. I suggest the best place to start is to make some Moslem friends…

  25. 25 Kelsie in Houston
    November 7, 2008 at 15:02

    Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in his televised speech, offered a strong summary statement of what Australia, and much of the world, hopes to see from Mr Obama’s administration.

  26. 26 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 15:23

    I appreciate what you say but Muslims will not stand up to a barbaric practice of stoning. Hey…they will not even stand up to the hijacking of their religion by radicals.
    Either they have no belief in Islam being a valid religion and they are just going along or have been taught that submission (Islam) is to everything that comes along. What will be the next perversion they submit to?

  27. 27 John in Germany
    November 7, 2008 at 15:39

    To All.
    Can a Muslim Man be stoned for committing adultery, or are the men immune? What happened to the man with whom she committed adultery?.

    That is the problem is it not, male chauvinistic tendencies from birth to death, i can you cant. Men a raised to treat woman as if they are at the bottom of the ladder, just waiting to be trod upon. Until the day they are promised to a man, they are still at the bottom of the ladder, but now they are watched like hawks in case———-.

    John in Germany

  28. 28 selena in Canada
    November 7, 2008 at 16:07


    This is a provocative subject and one which should get more exposure.

    You are absolutely correct in saying that most individuals will not even think about an evil unless they are directly affected by it.

    Before we are directly affected by evil, we can make up all manner of excuses to justify what our group is doing.

    Moderate Muslims are probably saying that it’s the fundamentalists and that doesn’t affect us.

    And Muslims, as a group, are beaten down globally. If you are beaten down you will likely try to keep a low profile.

    How can we arrange an inclusive conversation without the vitriol that accompanies most conversations about Muslims? Look no further than this blog!

    Your thoughts will be appreciated.

    Even though we still have a long way to go, we, in the West, got out of the same mess because a few courageous people put their lives on the line to expose man’s inhumanity. And we still have apologists who try to justify things the way they were.

  29. 29 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 16:15

    @Selena in Canada

    “Muslims beat down globally”!!?? C’mon what Muslims are they have done to themselves. They are not beaten down.
    If you emigrated from Pakistan to a Western Country and now want to live under Sharia law go back to Pakistan.
    If you are a Muslim then thru your silence you have supported Islamic terrorism and the wold reviles you.
    It is time for Muslims to face reality and stop the romantic fantasy language. Then there can be conversation without the “vitriol” which in reality is the truth of the situation that is difficult for Muslims to accept.
    I know that there is not 3 well know Muslims that have spoken out anywhere in the world. The “monkey” is not on the backs of the West, it is on the back of the Islamic world where courage seems to be an alien concept.

  30. November 7, 2008 at 16:33

    As an African i would like Pres Obama not to change old allies of America as well as he should also brings American critics closer if he could.Because the expenses which Americans had made durings their foriegns Policies expansions were numerous so it needs OBAMA to be more focus now on what he is doing.

  31. 31 selena in Canada
    November 7, 2008 at 16:41


    If you emigrated from Pakistan to a Western Country and now want to live under Sharia law go back to Pakistan.

    You may be shocked to learn that I agree with you. But think for a moment! Are they responsible for that?

    Under our, what I think is misguided, system we allow religious freedom. We have created the mess in our own countries and it can only get worse. If we don’t require assimilation, we won’t get assimilation.

    There should be no religious freedom (even Christian) that disrespects humanity.

  32. 32 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 16:53

    @Selena in canada
    You are correct that we allow Religious Freedom but that is only to worship freely without Government intervention.
    Jews. Mormons, Christians, Buddhists and others have religious customs that they obey but do not force upon society.
    In Jewish Law a woman must obtain a “GET” to get a divorce and a husband can simply say “no” despite his living with another woman. That divorce is limited strictly to the Jewish community and in real life the wife can get a civil divorce and be free to live her life. This is no way impacts society.
    What has happened in Canada and the United States is a process of assimilation. In my area there are a large number of Muslims. It is obvious from their dress. NO ONE CARES. They have become part of our society and if as an honor to their faith they wear a chador (head scarf) or beard it does not impact our society but adds a new dimension and flavor. We are enriched by it.

    Are we that far apart?

  33. 33 selena in Canada
    November 7, 2008 at 17:00


    I am trying hard to understand what you are saying.

    In order to understand I will ask a simple question: Do you think it is religion that impacts on the lives of homosexuals?

    For instance, if people had to keep their religious views to themselves and were punished for imposing their views on others, would people in the US be voting on homosexual marriage?

  34. November 7, 2008 at 17:03

    Dear Bloggers.especially my dear name (Dan) i agrees with you on all the matters you talks about Islams, exactly why Muslims always involves themselves on the problems committed in another part of the world although they are abroads or not dirrectly affected by a certain things? 2nd do they believes that all what Kurans teaches them are all possible in 21st century and i know why i said so? 3rd do they things that world can be of one religion? Know that you are not more sturborns as you might thinks!!! other people are just do normalise themselves but the might have killed people one time, suicide is a acts of cowardness and someone who did that or thinkings of doing so is a 100000% coward and Why should we allow religions to monitor the way we marriage or love like in the past month in Nigeria where 86 wives man was summon to divorce all 82 wives for no reason but only because of Sharia laws, Shame on you!!!.

  35. 35 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 17:11

    @Selena in Canada

    There is a big difference between practicing Sharia Law or wearing religious garb or religious customs vs Homosexual marriage.

    Homosexuals are free to marry now. They can do so anywhere in the world and have that marriage recognized anywhere in the world. They just cannot marry the same sex.

    Like it or not the underpinnings of civilization and our society is religion and in each religion is a caution against homosexuality. If we are to make such a monumental change then we, as a society, must discuss this issue and not have a court mandate or bumper sticker slogans to pass an initiative allowing it.
    With Gay marriage we are changing society and there has never been a homosexual society that has prospered or survived.
    What I witnessed in CA these past few days was children throwing a tanrum because they did not get their way. Certainly not a good argument to change society.

  36. 36 VictorK
    November 7, 2008 at 17:23

    @Selena: “For instance, if people had to keep their religious views to themselves and were punished for imposing their views on others, would people in the US be voting on homosexual marriage?”

    You were addressing Dan, and he will respond on his own account. But I would like to point out that gay marriage is not primarily a religious issue. It is political (the right of a community to govern itself according to its own common standards, not those of minority groups or activist judges), and socio-cultural (the conservation and defence of a traditional institution, marriage and the family, whose well-being is fundamental to social health and continuity).

    I am very much in favour of equal rights for gays as citizens; I have no problem with civil contracts/associations for gay (and non-erotic) couples; I am completely opposed to granting to gays an imaginary right that is not rooted in the cultural traditions of any Western society, of subverting an institution that has developed as an exclusive expression of the male-female bond, and of undermining respect for marriage by introducing what will inevitably turn out to be a parody of it (gay MacMarriages – allow it and some gays will tot up 15 or 20 husbands in their lifetime. Some even will do it as an act of deliberate mockery).

    None of these objections has anything to do with my religious beliefs.

  37. November 7, 2008 at 17:24

    ON “UN”. UN do involve themselves in a dangerous situations in which the do BECOME PART OF PROBLEMS THAN PART OF SOLUTIONS also they do keeps themselves in town than rural areas in which they are needed to keep peace therefore, i have notice now why they are not serious about peace in Congo is because the gets alot of minerals in a instability of DRC. .

  38. 38 selena in Canada
    November 7, 2008 at 17:41


    None of these objections has anything to do with my religious beliefs.

    Sorry I don’t have time to respond because I am working at the hospital this afternoon. I say that because mostly I work out of an office at home.

    I will ask a question before I go: How do you think Western society shaped the institutions which you seem to admire?

    Hope to explore this more later.

  39. 39 Jennifer
    November 7, 2008 at 17:58

    @ John in Germany

    Re: Muslim men vs. Muslim women

    I think the problem is male chauvinistic tendencies that use religion as a means of validation for woman being lesser of an individual or making it acceptable to “punish” her. I do not know for certain if the man who cheats is held to the same punishment but I don’t think so. I could be wrong.

    Here, men sometimes treat women the same way, but it’s not always linked to religion. It’s usually attached to what the woman does “wrong” and he won’t link being abusive or etc. to religion to validate his actions. He just does what he pleases. Because she did wrong; it’s her fault so he does nothing wrong in “fixing her behavior”.

    Those actions continue in a cycle and are passed on as the norm for both little boys as for how they should treat girls and for little girls how they should expect to be treated.

  40. 40 Steve
    November 7, 2008 at 18:05

    @ Dan

    I think the 50% + divorce rate (especially for “I fell out of love” reasons) is way more of a “threat” to marriage than gay marriage is. Are you afraid that homosexuals might have lower divorce rates?

    YOu have more to fear from Brittney Spears making a mockery of marriage and the divorce rate, and divorce for little or no reason, and the lack of marital vows, than you have to fear from gay marriage. If you oppose gay marriage, then marry someone of the opposite sex.

    The insanely high divorce rate is the real threat.

  41. 41 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 18:08

    @Selena in Canada

    Not fair to ask quesion then go away. We are here to discuss and share, I think, and explore new territory. Cannot be done with a monologue.

  42. 42 VictorK
    November 7, 2008 at 18:10

    @Selena: you asked, ‘… How do you think Western society shaped the institutions which you seem to admire?”

    Amongst some of the influences: Greek civilisation; Roman law and administration; the traditions of Judaism; feudalism; the traditions of the Germanic tribes; the Catholic Church; the institutions (universities, guilds, parliaments) formed during that underappreciated period of creativity, the Middle Ages; chivalry; the Renaissance; aristocracy; the Reformation and Counter-Reformation; Protestantism; science (or Science); secularism; the Enlightenment; monarchy and the nation-state; industrialism; Nineteenth Century liberalism; imperialism and colonialism; parliamentary democracy; the establishment of the rule of law; the separation of church and state; the social and cultural traditions developed in individual European states. (especially France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain)…

    The Christian faith has played an important part in the development of the institutions of Western nations, but it has only been one amongst many influences.

  43. 43 gary
    November 7, 2008 at 18:41

    @ Selena in Canada
    Yes, of couse! You have said it correctly. Those responding to this blog, and also I most include Bob’s blog (which I find most impressive, btw) must maintain the very highest standards of diplomacy and tact. It is one thing to hold a certain opinion regarding this horrendous treatment of a human being, and a completely different thing to express a revulsion of it in such a way, so that a thinking person living in such a place may say: “Yes, I see this.” Then, he or she may be brave enough to tell a good friend. My dad used always to say: “All things being equal, your friends will help you.” These last sentences are my point and my hope. That is; that such conversations as are encouraged here and elsewhere will cause such practices to fall away. One reasonable friend may be little help, but nations of them can make real, positive changes.

  44. 44 VictorK
    November 7, 2008 at 19:05

    @Gary: is there much of a difference between referring to something as ‘barbaric’ (as another blogger did) and describing it, as you do, as ‘horrendous’ and a matter of ‘revulsion’? Those responsible for the stoning regarded it as an act of piety and virtue. And so it was, according to their religion. No amount of tact is likely to persuade them otherwise.

    There’s little that outsiders and non-Muslims can (or should) do about this issue, but surely we can still speak plainly and directly about the facts as we see them?

  45. 45 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 19:29


    You present a specious argument. The divorce rate has nothing to do with Gay marriage.

  46. 46 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 19:46


    Stoning a woman to death IS barbaric. One can parse words until the cows come home but having watched a stoning on video one can only say it is an act of raw naked BARBARISM.

  47. 47 gary
    November 7, 2008 at 19:48

    @ VictorK
    Yes, I agree. Peoples minds become so controlled by a particular belief they never question its validity. It has become my common practice to question my own beliefs very often. I try not to be deprived of understanding the truth by such little things as opinions, even when they are my own! My current opinion is that life is sacred. This idea has survived many tests. It prompts me to think of life as a gift that may only be taken away by the giver. Another conclusion is that this awareness that is life, is so mommentous as to dwarf all others. So things like beauty, color, language, faith, gender, etc., must pale in comparison to it. So I seek to preserve it when I may be able.
    There may be little I, or anyone else can do directly to change these practices in the Muslim world. Perhaps all Moslems may considered them acts of faith for which heaven will be the reward. I do not know these things. I know only that error is easiest to find by looking for it. In their minds they may not seem to be in error; but if they are, they’ll never know until the question is asked. All I seek is that they ask the question.

  48. 48 Venessa
    November 7, 2008 at 19:57

    I still can’t wrap my brain around why gay marriage is so bad. When does the actions of someone you don’t know getting married affect you? It doesn’t; who cares!

  49. 49 Steve
    November 7, 2008 at 20:22

    @ Dan

    So what’s your problem with gay marriage? If you don’t think the divorce rate has anything to do with gay marriage, then you aren’t concerned about the “sanctity” of marriage. So if you’re not concerned with the “sanctity” of marriage, what do you care? If you don’t like gay marriage, marry a woman then. Problem solved.

  50. 50 Dan
    November 7, 2008 at 20:38


    Divorce rate…Sanctity of Marriage…and other phantom issues will not advance your case for Gay marriage.
    as I said Gays can get married now anywhere in the world and have that marriage recognized by any Government. So the term Gay Marriage is a misnomer to fool people. Gays simply cannot marry the same sex.
    If we change society is such a fundamental way shouldn’t we talk about it or will we live by judicial fiat or bumper sticker propositions?
    There has never been a successful gay society. That weighs heavily in the discussion. We need to understand why and what will the effects be on our society.
    Children in school are now being taught that they can have sex with someone of their own sex. That is a rot that will destroy a civilization.

    Want more?….I m perfectly willing to debate with you about this but not with straw dogs, bumper sticker slogans or empty rhetoric.

  51. 51 Jens
    November 7, 2008 at 20:56

    @ venessa,

    it’s a matter of control. you know the right wing nut jobs need to control everybodies life, down to the details of how often and in what position one is allowed have sex.

    seriously i do not see a reason to prevent gay marriages. there is not threat or harm to anybody. uhh maybe the imaginary sky fairy told them so….

  52. 52 Jennifer
    November 7, 2008 at 22:52

    I guess my opinion about gay marriage doesn’t matter! HMM! haha I’ll try again. 🙂

    I don’t think politics has anything to do with homosexual marriage at all. I would prefer to not know who someone else has sex with. However, it is realistic to consider how homosexual marriage would effect our society at large. If it were meant to be a legitimate marriage; homosexuals would be able to produce offspring to ensure survival without scientific intervention. That’s not the case. Thats why I don’t believe it’s appropriate. It makes a mockery of marriage too. There are very real threats like us becoming extinct not to mention passing AIDS around that should be considered. Unless, we decide to allow homosexual marriage as the natural progression of doing ourselves in……..

  53. 53 steve
    November 7, 2008 at 23:58

    @ Dan
    What do you mean gays cannot marry the same sex when you just said they can? Because you don’t want them to doesn’t mean they cannot. There’s never been a successful gay society? Can you show me when there has been any gay society? And if Gays are 10% of the population, if even that, then how are you suggesting that society would somehow become gay, then a failed society?

    I don’t understand your logic. If you have a problem with same sex marriage, marry someone of the opposite sex. It’s not that hard to avoid something you don’t like. I don’t like tomatoes, so I don’t order things with tomatoes. I hate that show sex and the city, so I avoid it if it’s on. And given I’m not gay, if I were to get married, it would be with a woman. So you easily can avoid gay marriage by not entering into one, but why stop others who want to?

    Are you saying they are telling kids in school how to have gay sex, or are you saying they are just saying it exists? People could also have sex with cars and horses, as it’s physically possible to do, but unless you have a proclivity to do it, you won’t. I was in Dupont Circle area today, lots of gay stores and rainbow flags and I didn’t suddenly find men attractive let alone want to marry one.

  54. 54 steve
    November 8, 2008 at 13:50

    @ Jens

    The “right wing nut jobs” don’t have a monopoly on trying to control people’s lives. I was in an area yesterday where they actually banned smoking on the sidwalks and tried to ban smoking in people’s own homes. I assure, you , it wasn’t the right wing that did that.

  55. November 8, 2008 at 14:04

    Hi Dan
    Reyr November 7, 2008 at 1:18 pm post
    The Shah was overthrown and we regret it to this day. Thrity years of clerical oppression and inquisitions, we are set for the next round.
    US policy in Mideast is not always sophisticated, particularly in Iran.
    See what happens next!
    Obama’s in. Sky is the limit. Wonder what President George W. Bush has got to say! Not too late for him to pull out the plug on Iran. We will remember and cherish his memory.
    God Bless.

  56. 56 selena in Canada
    November 8, 2008 at 14:31


    The Christian faith has played an important part in the development of the institutions of Western nations, but it has only been one amongst many influences

    You are, of course, quite right about other influences. Without other influences, it is quite possible that we would still be trying people for heresy.

    But don’t you think that the Christian church influences such things as anti homosexuality, anti abortion, adultery and other things that are, in fact, interfering with an individual’s right to choose for themselves how s/he wishes to live.

    Isn’t it the church that has controlled and continues to try to control the personal lives of individuals?

  57. 57 selena in Canada
    November 8, 2008 at 14:32

    @ Dan

    OK I am back and ready to explore anything you choose to explore. 🙂

  58. 58 selena in Canada
    November 8, 2008 at 15:27

    On another note, something may be out there, way out there…


  59. 59 John in Germany
    November 9, 2008 at 11:24

    Hello Jennifer.

    A complicated problem because most men believe they have the right and the woman, none.

    One of the most natural things in life, something that ensure the continuity of the whole human race has over the centuries become a thing of religion, politics, and race.

    Such statement as “he is just blunting his horns and so on” No god ever gave the male the divine right to do what he wants, and to restrict the female, so that she becomes in some Countries nothing but a chattel for the male.

    It takes two to Tango, so both should be punished if at all. We must respect other peoples laws but thank heavens we dont have to agree.

    Nothing will change in countries where the men have the say, run the justice, control the politics. without any female influence.

    You are right, what is Wrong.

    John in Germany

  60. November 9, 2008 at 14:31

    Thank you for the quality you bring to this debate. Your analysis of the influences that shaped the institutions was a pleasure to read.

    For once in a blue moon I agree with you.

    As a minority there has been no gay society. Why should homosexuals be denied the commitment and comfort of marriage and the legal status? How is that going to harm society?

  61. 61 steve
    November 9, 2008 at 17:31

    @ Dan

    THIS is the threat. The childish entitlement mentality thinking you deserve perfection is far worse a risk to any “sanctity” of marriage that homosexual marriage might provide.


  62. 62 selena in Canada
    November 9, 2008 at 18:17


    It is amazing how some men just don’t get women! And therein lies the reason why this woman and other like her question their marriages.

    I deserve perfection and wouldn’t stay with a man unless I felt very happy and comfortable in my situation. That is not too much too ask. In fact, we should demand it the way we demanded the vote!

    No amount of societal pressure would make me settle for less than comfort or, if you will, perfection.

    Life is short and unless you believe in a god, this is all there is.

    Do you really think I would waste my time on a marriage (or anything else for that matter… job?) if I didn’t feel like the other person was part of me? I could settle for nothing less.

    This woman is telling it like it is and if your opinion of women is anything to go by, it will be a long time before the sexes view each other as equal. And that is the problem.

    Try to see it from the other perspective, Steve, and one day you may find a person whom you truly couldn’t imagine living without. Then you will understand the woman who wrote the article is only requesting something that everyone should expect… peace.

  63. 63 Jennifer
    November 9, 2008 at 22:22

    @ John in Germany

    I agree with your statement that as long as men control every aspect of life, women will be victimized as men see fit. I don’t think religion should be used as a way to validate keeping women at a lower level. However, people should remember that just because some people do that doesn’t mean that religion should be seen as bad. It’s the people who interpret it in a self serving way that are bad.

    I don’t think it’s acceptable to cheat in a relationship; but I think it would be harsh to stone someone to death or kill them for it. I know someone who was in a relationship. Her significant other was very abusive; he accused her all the time of cheating when she never did. I wonder how many times men get those ideas when women do not really cheat……….Its very sad.

  64. 64 Jennifer
    November 9, 2008 at 22:25

    Re: “Are you saying they are telling kids in school how to have gay sex, or are you saying they are just saying it exists?”

    Yes, by allowing it you are saying it’s ok; an option. There is a difference between people making the choice to life an alternative lifestyle. I have no problem with that but if someone chooses that they forfeit having a “marriage”. Have a civil union but not marriage in a church.

  65. 65 John in Germany
    November 12, 2008 at 12:08

    Religion is a thing of the soul, it is believing what ones heart feels. People have interpreted it to suit themselves over the years. It has become political, has approved of mass murder, looks on when people die of hunger, and are killed in war. It is so sad that in many religions, woman are treated like chattels, and have no place at the same table as men. As you say it is how it is used by those that push thier own will in the name of one of the many gods in our universe.

    The most natural thing in life has become, one of the most complicated because of the false moral ideas of some. How can love be Criminal?, is it because of a mans false idea of himself.” How could she think of sleeping with (another man when im the best).” Worse in some religeons even looking at another man.

    Whoops Ill Stop now. Get down from my box, and wish you a good day.
    John in Germany.

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