05
Feb
10

On air: Is being religious evidence of a good character?

Cherie Blair is in the middle of a rapidly expanding online discussion.

Cherie Blair is a judge and she issued this ruling on a man who’s guilty of assault. ‘I am going to suspend this (prison) sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before.’

Paul Wooley agrees with Mrs. Blair’s decision here he says

Religious faith is a world-view, a way of seeing and living in the world, that should affect the totality of a person’s life and the choices they make. Religion (derived from the Latin religare, meaning ‘to bind’) binds people together.

But this blogger seriously contends this idea claming that statistics show that ‘there are equal amounts of  good non-religious people and bad religious people.’

Blogger Brett was outraged calling it a ‘gross example of religious discrimination.’

Is being religious evidence of a good character?


138 Responses to “On air: Is being religious evidence of a good character?”


  1. 1 Ibrahim in UK
    February 4, 2010 at 11:10

    NO!
    A man’s character is not judged by his religion or religiousness, it is judged by his intentions and actions.
    The late Robin Cook is a prominent example.

  2. 2 alan loughlin
    February 4, 2010 at 11:33

    I despair that we leave these decisions in the hands of people like this, religion is not a reason for someone bettering their life, the exact opposite is true, religion is the cause of the worlds problems not the solution, to discriminate in this way is typical of the way we give privelege to religion, it is time we woke up to reality, priests abuse children, fact, religion is the cause of terrorism, fact, religion has caused millions of deaths in africa, fact, do i need to say any more.

    • 3 Ibrahim in UK
      February 4, 2010 at 13:13

      Fact, people who say fact are usually stating an opinion.

      Religion doesn’t abuse or kill people. People kill people; religious or atheist it doesn’t matter they will find a justification to segregate, oppose and attack (different colour, different race, different nationality, even different football team)

  3. 4 Nigel
    February 4, 2010 at 11:56

    The fact that he was before the courts and in fact sentenced should answer that. This is pure cronyism based on religion.

  4. 5 piscator
    February 4, 2010 at 12:28

    If someone claims to be religious, then surely they are claiming to know the difference between right and wrong, and be better motivated against evil, than atheists. Therefore they should get twice the sentence. Same as for bent coppers, judges, politicians and all those who claim better moral knowledge then the man in the street..

    • 6 Linda from Italy
      February 4, 2010 at 15:08

      Bravo Piscator!
      Just as the way politicos and sportspersons caught committing sexual peccadilloes are treated by public opinion should to an extent depend on the level of hypocrisy exposed (in all senses of the word). A politician forever banging on about “family values” (whatever these may be) and sportspersons making advertising zillions out projecting an image of being Mr/Ms clean, should, in the latter case, at least be held up to ridicule, and in the former, also possibly encouraged to stand down as an untrustworthy liar.
      Someone who proclaims themselves to be “religious” and who commits offences that the religion in question deems a sin, should not receive favourable treatment, but perhaps the religious person who failed to apply the law fairly is trusting in the wrath of some God or other.

  5. February 4, 2010 at 12:56

    One of the Blairs makes a daft decision? I don’t believe it!!

  6. 8 alan loughlin
    February 4, 2010 at 13:22

    can anyone answer the question as to why all these priests and bishops and even the pope implicated in the tens of thousands of abused children have not been prosecuted, ordinary people in the street quite rightly go to jail if they abuse children why not these people, they hide behing their religion so all is ok.

  7. 9 patti in cape coral
    February 4, 2010 at 14:03

    I’m sorry to say religion does not always equal better character, although that’s how it’s supposed to work. On the contrary, if a person is religious they should be held to a higher standard of behavior, but I guess that would be another kind of discrimination.

    I’m certain several factors have to be taken into account In deciding whether someone deserves leniency on their prison sentence, but I don’t think religion should be one of those factors.

  8. 10 alan loughlin
    February 4, 2010 at 14:15

    the FACT that tens of thousands of children have had their lives ruined by sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by PRIESTS is not an opinion a fact is a fact and this one has been proven

    • 11 Ibrahim in UK
      February 4, 2010 at 15:38

      Yes sorry, that one is a fact.
      I was more reacting to the tendency to blame religion for the actions of people.
      i.e. religion doesn’t say to abuse children, it says be kind to them and protect them. My argument is that people abuse children despite religion (and law and common decensy) not because of it.

      • 12 Ronald Almeida
        February 5, 2010 at 12:27

        But since religious people seem to be worse than others, there must be something intrinsically wrong about religion.

    • 13 DWF
      February 6, 2010 at 02:21

      @Alan Loughlin.
      I have been abused by a doctor and my life has been ruined. So let’s condemn all doctors.Please, never visit a doctor again!!

  9. 14 username
    February 4, 2010 at 14:15

    “A man’s character is not judged by his religion or religiousness, it is judged by his intentions and actions.
    The late Robin Cook is a prominent example.”

    Yes, a moral coward and an appeaser

  10. February 4, 2010 at 14:18

    All religions are patriarchal misogynists to a greater or lesser extent. These institutions proclaim edits made by men for the benefit of men and are at the detriment of the mental and physical health of females .

    Protestantism is now impotent, Catholicism powerless in the industrialised world but still a menace to the mental and physical well being of females in the so called ‘third’ world, Judaism is trying to enter the 21st C and in some areas succeeding, Islam takes the biscuit for being the most oppressive religion in terms of its present depths of misogyny. Muslim women world wide are the most consistently oppressed.

    • 16 Saut
      February 5, 2010 at 14:47

      Yes, where the religions fail we see the greatest development and progress in visuals of near naked women on screen or in print. Amost like the primitive tribes in South American jungles where women’s near nudity is cultural norm.

  11. 17 Bob in Queensland
    February 4, 2010 at 14:29

    You need only look at the rampant prejudice and numerous injustices in the name of religion carried out over many centuries to realise the stupidity of this argument.

  12. 18 Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan
    February 4, 2010 at 14:50

    Another great BBC topic and another reason to ‘Catholic bash’ (I can already hear the issue of wayward Priests coming up and the sniggers)! ……. so this evening I’ll go out for a few beers!

    And, NO, being religious is not a sign of a good or better character. And it can be made even worse if you are a ‘lawyer’ or politician (with religious ways); that is really ‘mixing’ God and devils!

  13. 19 Ronald Almeida
    February 4, 2010 at 14:56

    Of what I have observed in my life is that most religious people are worse than the others. Those who are not religious tend to have more faith and love for mankind.

  14. 20 John in Salem
    February 4, 2010 at 15:07

    Religious = better character?

    Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, wait – it’s a PIG!
    Hey, everybody… Pigs can fly!!

  15. 21 eSCe
    February 4, 2010 at 15:18

    Note that mitigation for a lighter sentence can use reasons from past good deeds to being declared a saint by the pope or winning a nobel prize. Reasons can vary. Being religious is one of them. Why is this an issue.
    As long as the minimum sentence is upheld.

  16. 22 Linda from Italy
    February 4, 2010 at 15:30

    This is amazing doublethink. One the one hand, we have those who seek to promulgate their religious notions and convert all us heathens, insisting that all children must be subjected to religious indoctrination as the only way of teaching them moral values, since only the fear of some kind of afterlife carrot/stick system can possibly keep human beings on the straight and narrow. Then on the other, we have this same religious mafia suggesting that us poor heathens should receive a harsher punishment because, while we have agreed to abide by the rules set by a reasonably just and democratic society and accept the penalties set by that society if we transgress, we are apparently beyond redemption since we haven’t signed up to the other arbitrary set of rules they believe in.

  17. 24 T
    February 4, 2010 at 15:30

    No.

    If that were true, then how do you explain everyone who’s been killed in the name of “religion”? It’s yet another daft legal decision that will be analyzed and then appealed. And one week from now no one will remember this.

  18. 25 gary indiana
    February 4, 2010 at 15:52

    I think Ms. Blair has been most unwise. Bullies are almost always victims of self-deception concerning their societal rights and privileges. It shouldn’t take much imagination to think a particular bully might be deceptive about his religious convictions as well, or that a particular judge might have deceived herself concerning her abilities to discern the truth of the matter.
    g

  19. 26 Mike in Seattle
    February 4, 2010 at 16:00

    This is a disgusting and discriminatory action. In the United States lawyers and judges would have to face an ethics board of some kind and if such a thing exists in the UK Cherie Blair should have to explain her actions as well.

    I can’t wait to hear why religious people are more deserving of freedom than those who process no specific faith or profess no faith at all.

  20. 27 Cheshire Pete
    February 4, 2010 at 16:03

    We didn’t stay on topic for long today, did we.

    I must say that I find the topic on a website aimed at the World. The reactions you get will be typical of the sort highlighted in last nights programme.

    Obviously, most of the people who have posted so far have not read the links, or it would be all the knee jerk Islamophobes who would be posting, instead of the anti – Pope jerkers.

    The Mail and the National Secular Society, which is dedicated to stopping Sharia law in the UK, are jumping on what CB said only because she referred to the defendants religion, and possibly what his religion is.

    Judges often refer to something in a persons private life which is positive and makes them feel ashamed of their behaviour. I remember a judge telling my Uncle that a man with his military record should be ashamed of being caught frightening horses outside a public lavatory on a Sunday. I doubt that this guy had anything else positive going for him apart from his faith at the moment, being single and unemployed.

    Saying that, the Magistrates must have thought he deserved more than 6 months if he pled guilty and was was commited to a Crown Court for sentence.

    • 28 Roseann in Houston
      February 4, 2010 at 19:50

      Pete – I looked for links and didn’t see any, so I did a Google search. Some of the media reported his religion and some did not – but I don’t see what it matters. The “anti-Pope jerkers” that you refer to are probably just most familiar with examples of bible-waving Christians who are secretely consorting with underage boys (like a few high-level politicians in the US and Catholic priests all over the world). The point is: people who hold themselves up to be religious are frequently horribly corrupt sinners, and there are proven examples to be found throughout current Western civilization.

  21. February 4, 2010 at 16:16

    Regardless of whether and individual is “religious,” or not, justice should be meted out with impartiality. A religious fanatic could commit a horrible crime in the name of his/her faith, and just being religious does not absolve the sin. many confuse being religious with being saved. In the Bible, JESUS condemned the Jewish religious leaders because they were living in the legality of their religion, instead of doing GOD’S will. People can do good things, but GOD will not grant them salvation based upon the good things they did, because there is still a sin nature that can only be atoned for by repenting and accepting JESUS’ sacrifice. religious people aren’t better than non-religious people, only saved people have GOD’S forgiveness. So religiosity does not account for anything here or in eternity.

  22. 30 alan loughlin
    February 4, 2010 at 16:26

    GOD does not exist, nor does cinderella or the tooth fairy,these are figments of the imagination, if you wish to deceive yourselves well carry on but do not try to drag us into the illusion please.

  23. 31 Gary Paudler
    February 4, 2010 at 17:11

    A Blair might hope that Christian Piety results in a suspended sentence.

  24. 32 jens
    February 4, 2010 at 17:24

    One more case where the religiouse fanatics believe to have a higher moral ground than atheists. a classic example of the deluded living in there delusional world.

  25. 33 nora
    February 4, 2010 at 17:50

    Judges speak to the things that spark recognition in defendants of the terms of their integration back into society. In this case, were I sitting in the courtroom, I might wonder if the guy had agreed to be an informant on his brethren and was being reminded of the obligation that went with his freedom.

    If the only law the man respected was Sharia, reminding him that he busted Sharia too could be a practical matter of keeping the peace at the pragmatic level.

    That said, personally, I don’t want to hear from politicians or judges that they are biased in favor of the religious.

  26. 34 Nikki
    February 4, 2010 at 17:56

    NO!!!
    For example mu father is a staunch atheist but the most honest, moral and loving person, excellent father, grandfather, respected employee, loyal husband.
    Morality has NOTHING to do with religion, period!

  27. 35 JanB
    February 4, 2010 at 18:00

    “Religious = better character?”

    Go ask the families of the victims of 9/11…

    Atheists have done their share too (communism) and usually it’s just a form of social cohesion stemming from your childhood, so being religious doesn’t say much about your character, unless you choose to be religious in a largely atheist society (but there aren’t that many of those).

  28. 36 JanB
    February 4, 2010 at 18:08

    Of course this whole story could have been exaggerated by the British tabloid media: maybe the defendant really did convert since the time of his crimes, radically changing his lifestyle and core values, reducing the chances of the man ever committing a crime again. Kinda like Stan Tookie or the Khmer Rouge torturer who became a Christian and spent decades helping the poor in Cambodia. Of course these examples are way too grave not to handout lifelong sentences, but for a lesser crime it does make a difference to a (good) judge whether or not the offender is likely to fall back into crime or not, so maybe her words were just twisted by the media. It’s hard to tell with the state of the British media.

  29. 37 Cabe Searle UK
    February 4, 2010 at 18:10

    Surely it’s got nothing to do with religion or character – it’s whether he broke the law or not?

  30. 38 nimrod
    February 4, 2010 at 18:25

    What happened to the leading text? Lawyers putting out the necessary inputs!

  31. February 4, 2010 at 18:33

    Hi,

    It does not mater whether the person is religious, the fact that he was found guilty is proof enough for him to be imprisonesd.

    Does Ms. Blair know this?

    I wonder!!!!!

    Philip

  32. 40 audre
    February 4, 2010 at 18:42

    Whew! I am gobsmacked! No wonder the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.

    From what I see religious people are more troubled than the non-religious.

    If this person broke the law being religious should not get him/her a free pass. If that isn’t obvious it should be.

  33. February 4, 2010 at 18:46

    I’m surprised that Judge Blair didn’t instruct the person to do some type of religious penitence to fit the crime.

    I think a persons character should be considered, at least for a first time offender. But their religious preference should have no effect on a sentence, unless the person is screaming, that Satan will guide him and you will all die or something dark like that.

    The type of crime should be considered. A small mistake or accident from a good person with a first offense is one thing. A violent crime committed, should be sentenced strictly on the evidence. Obviously any religious or moral upbringing didn’t effect the persons actions.

  34. 43 Tom D Ford
    February 4, 2010 at 19:18

    “Religious = better character?”

    Hmm, she says that a person who believes in an imaginary supernatural being has a better character than a sane person who believes in reality?

    Isn’t it obvious who is is the crazy one here?

    Urm, let me correct that, isn’t it obvious which two are the crazy ones?

    Just my personal opinion.

  35. 45 Tom D Ford
    February 4, 2010 at 19:23

    “Religious = better character?”

    Only if it’s the Flying Spaghetti Monster, smothered with the delightful “character” of well simmered tomato sauce, Swedish meatballs, Italian spices, and freshly grated parmesan cheese. That’s “better character”!

  36. 46 henalf
    February 4, 2010 at 21:24

    The religous people in the past,practised burning people at the stake ect.Today they manufacture nuclear bombs,and just vaporise them! So much more efficient.

  37. 47 harold philbin
    February 4, 2010 at 21:33

    Mrs Blair was there to be seen for what she is, on her very first day in number ten when she opened the famous door, and yet again when she was reported for not previously paying her fare on the train, and she is such a good lawyer that she did not even know that all she had to do was to give the ticket collector her name and address, and it would end the matter. but she failed to do that simple thing.

  38. 48 Thomas Murray
    February 4, 2010 at 22:20

    Hmmmmmm.

    Now what was the religion of the Oklahoma City bomber who murdered over 200 people?

    Christian?

    Belief just provides the potential for a person to be better, but doesn’t MAKE them that way.

    –Louisville, Kentucky, US.

    PS. Duncan Jones’ “Moon” is bloody brilliant. Most surprising that it didn’t pick up a Oscar nomination for best Art direction or special effects. Pity.

  39. 49 harold philbin
    February 4, 2010 at 22:25

    Many people will believe that Mrs Blair is not suitable for such a high position in our society and I would not comment on that, but I can safely mention a true story of long ago when I was digusted to be on the receiving end of similar bad judgement.

    I had spent three weeks of long twelve hour nights trying to catching a persistent thief who seemed to be nothing more than a swift elusive shadow in the darkness, but every so often several parcels disappeared from a warehouse in Ardwick Manchester.

    Eventually I got him after a long chase through the city streets, we were both completely exausted but I was in slightly better condition than he was, and when I gave him the usual little push on one shoulder, down he went like a sack of potatoes and he was secured.

    Evidence was sound and he pleaded guilty to theft, but then the nice kind lady Magistrate gave him a conditional discharge, I could have fallen through the floor, obviously I was not at all pleased but the deed was done and I could not object.

    But I did, I waited for her to leave the Court and then I stopped her and said, “Excuse me but I have spent night after night outside in the cold, waiting for this thief to perform and when I caught him red handed you have just let him go free.

    The lady’s logic! she said,” I am sorry but this is my first day on the bench and I did not want to send him to prison on my first day, but I will try to do better next time.”

    God help the next one she dealt with?

    Fair comment I suppose, but just like catching them, sentencing criminals may be a job for experts,. but taking a look at the way some of them are performing, it does make you think a bit deeper, perhaps they should not be allowed to make decisions on their own.

  40. 50 mat hendriks
    February 4, 2010 at 22:27

    By the way :

    I knew a non- religious person, with
    a beautiful and integer character.

    A joy for our Creator of All

  41. 51 mat hendriks
    February 5, 2010 at 06:06

    Frieds of BBC:
    Have you lost my comments.

    Religous=( has nosthing to do with) =be a better person
    maybe, it will helpfull to become one!

  42. February 5, 2010 at 10:23

    What if she had said, ‘I am going to suspend this (prison) sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you aren’t a religious person and have not been in trouble before.’ ??

    What she said says everything about her biases, and nothing about the criminal’s character… in my opinion.

    • 53 pendkar
      February 5, 2010 at 15:58

      ‘I am going to suspend this (prison) sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you aren’t a religious person and have not been in trouble before.’ ??

      good one

      Her (C.B.’s)words do sound archaic. She could have cited some civic virtues. May not be difficult to find in a first time offender.

  43. 54 eSCe
    February 5, 2010 at 11:29

    The teachers of the law knows the law and they will be judge the hardest. In Matthew – 23 Jesus pronounced the shortcomings of the Pharisees and other teachers. A religious person should get a heavier sentence.

  44. 55 Roberto
    February 5, 2010 at 11:53

    RE “” Blogger Brett was outraged “”
    ———————————————————————

    ————And so what?

    Millions of terrible transgressions occur daily in this world, so surely this Brett blogger can find something more productive to do than be outraged over a minor court case he knows virtually nothing about.

    Had the judge mentioned the man’s hard work or charitable works as a mitigating factor in the sentencing, would Brett blogger be equally outraged, or is he just biased against religion?

  45. 56 james Ian
    February 5, 2010 at 11:56

    NO! My father was a preacher and everyone always said and thought he was such a nice and wonderful man, but he wasn’t. He beat us kids, AND I DO MEAN BEAT! He cheated on my mother. He was a mean horable man and everyone thought he was so great. Seems to me most preachers, teachers and police are the biggest perverted controle freakes ever.

  46. 57 E Blackburn
    February 5, 2010 at 12:57

    A Christian asks “What must I do to be saved?” Every so called good deed; atendance at worship; kindly gesture; like easing a criminal penance, is done with a quid pro quo in mind. whereas I do good deeds with no thought of reward as there is no entity there to reward me.

  47. 58 audre
    February 5, 2010 at 13:14

    I have had a fair amount of dealng with troubled people in my career. The one thing constant is that they turn to religion for redemption when they cannot deal with the stress, real or imagined, in their lives.

    Religion does help some people stabilize, that otherwise wouldn’t, and go on to live productive livesThat is why I find it difficult to condemn it out of hand. However, there is a very dark side to religion that needs exposure, as James Ian has said. Perhaps that day is coming, because of sites like this.

    Take care James.

  48. 59 E Blackburn
    February 5, 2010 at 14:15

    Let’ hope that she is not sitting in judgement of one Mr T Blair when he is in the dock

  49. 60 Rick in Davenport
    February 5, 2010 at 15:06

    Just because there are people who don’t believe in God doesn’t mean that he won’t give us up, it doesn’t mean he won’t let us down, it doesn’t mean he won’t run around and hurt us. It’s really how we roll that makes us strong.

  50. February 5, 2010 at 15:25

    Religion isn’t always a sign of good character. There are who are fervently religious and in the name of their view of religion, they are ready to commit atrocities against people of their religion through, among other things, suicide attacks.

    There are people who use religious practice as a facade to hide their evil intent or actions. An example of this, in Morocco a religious person belonging to an Islamic association was found out to be a drug dealer. He was caught with 8 kilogram of drugs on his motorcycle.

    In short, the law should be above everything and everyone. Justice must be applied to all entirely and not selectively.

  51. 62 Elizabeth Kuranchie
    February 5, 2010 at 15:30

    Not at all!Religion as Karl Marx said is the opium of the masses.This does not mean when someone is religious then he or she is ” righteous,holy or possess a good character”.Religion is a religion. People can join any religious group at any point in time.I think the premise is true but the conclusion is not valid!If the person’s cognition has been tested, then such conclusion can be drown from the premise the lady stated but to me it doesn’t hold!

  52. 63 Kate M.
    February 5, 2010 at 15:38

    A lot of us seem to be off topic don’t we? According to most of the comments I have read I am delusional, irrational, and all together something like a monster for having religious beliefs. I better find the nearest institution and lock myself up before I molest a child or blow up a building.
    It’s very unfortunate the people who commit such heinous acts are associated with a religion. It’s also as prejudice as you are making religious people out to be by judging an entire group by their actions.
    As to the topic – If someone commits a crime they should be punished regardless of religion. Aren’t there guidelines in place to keep this kind of thing from happening?

  53. February 5, 2010 at 15:52

    Being religeous is not evidence of anything,other than being religeous.And does not qualify you for good character in any shape or form.The Blairs are both religeous people,and it reflects in their lives,didn’t Tony say,that god would be his judge,and said it in parliament too.So,thats him off the hook then!According to Cherie.Not so much salvation,more a get out of jail free card.

  54. 65 Carbo
    February 5, 2010 at 15:58

    Good day WHYS,

    I cannot respond to Mrs. Blair ruling because I don’t know the facts of the case or what evidence of remorse and contrition she saw. However, I profoundly disagree that being religious is evidence of good character. In fact the opposite could be the case, that is , people who are outwardly religious can be persons of bad character. People who are good don’t about advertising their goodness. Their good deeds speak louder than their words. By their godlike actions actions they are known, not by the number of pilgrimages or public prayers or hours of fasting or prayer.

    When all is said and done, God knows because “men looks at the outward but God searches the heart”

    Best regards,
    Carlos.
    Kingston- Jamaica.

  55. February 5, 2010 at 16:05

    Being religious is not always an evidence of good character, but it helps many to try to lead a good example. Religion is a believe system which remind the followers that there is someone above them. So with this at the back of ones mind, even if you do wrong, after a while, you meditate upon those deals and decide to repent. Besides, in most cases it is very easy to sensitize a religious person as compare to the one who do not belong to any at all.

  56. February 5, 2010 at 16:17

    Evils are committed every day by both religious and non religious every day. Excusing behavior because someone claims to be religious is itself inexcusable. As a friend of mine frequently says “To say that you are a good Christian because you go to church is like saying that standing in the garage makes you a car!”.

  57. 68 Anthony
    February 5, 2010 at 17:02

    The Islamic terrorists are VERY religious… I know there would be no reduced sentence for them though. I’m thinking they meant Christian, more than religious.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  58. 69 bevx
    February 5, 2010 at 17:02

    Cherie Blair should be removed from her Judge position.
    Irrespective of religion or otherwise: he committed a crime, was found guilty, hence should go to prison.
    Any judge who misplaces their responsibility innot following the LAW as prescribed should be disbarred.
    With no previous conviction, this should be reflected in the length of sentence and not forgiveness in any way shape or form.

  59. February 5, 2010 at 17:22

    And another thing… what does religion have to do with sentencing?

    I reiterate my earlier comment, to use one’s religion as a factor for character fails as were they a good practitioner, they would know better than to commit crimes and end up where they were. If anything to say you are of good character due to your faith should attract a stronger sentence as you should have known better.

    • 71 DWF
      February 6, 2010 at 02:17

      @Andrew
      Religion has a lot to do with sentencing. The belief in the power of forgiveness is one of them. We all know better, yet we continue to do certain things that harm us and those around us- for eg. smoking, drinking, stealing, lying, cheating, etc. We are able to forgive ourselves for doing these things, because we get away with it. I think Cheri Blair is a sensible woman, even in this case. How is it that we are so quick to condemn this lady, yet so forgiving of the several corrupt persons who have commiedt perjury (Bill Clinton for example).?

  60. 72 Lily
    February 5, 2010 at 17:27

    What a foolish woman Cherie Blair is! Year after year we hear stories of adults who were abused as children by men of the cloth. Are those perpetrators good characters? Countless people die of AIDS in Africa every day because the catholic church forbids contraception. They believe homosexuality is a sin. Religion is based on belief, just because that belief is of a higher being does not make the believer of good character. Stupid stupid woman.

    • 73 DWF
      February 6, 2010 at 02:02

      @Lily:
      The Catholic Church forbids the use of condoms. Just as it does taking of a human life, abortion, etc. Would you, as a healthy person,confidently and willingly have “protected” sex with a person who has full-blown AIDS? I think not. Condoms are known to promote a high-risk, promiscuous life-style, including homosexuality.
      It appears you have more faith in condoms and profiteering manufacturers of contraception, than a loving God who sacrificed his Son.Pity!

      • 74 Lily
        February 8, 2010 at 12:40

        DWF, I would imagine from your post that you are devout catholic? I am not demeaning your beliefs I am simply saying that it does not make you a better person because you believe in God. And your point about contraception is ridiculous. Condoms do not “promote” promiscuity. They promote safe sex, responsibility and I don’t care if that is in the interest of profits for the manufacturers. It’s not up to you to question my faith. What I believe in or don’t believe in is none of your business. I’m not going to belittle your beliefs so what gives you the rights to belittle mine? I can believe or not believe whatever I want.

      • 75 DWF
        February 8, 2010 at 22:49

        @Lili.
        Isn’t calling Ms Blair foolish and stupid, belittling her for her faith? Are you not belittling the Catholic Church for its stance on homosexuality and contraception?
        You have not answered the question : would you have “protected” sex with a person with full blown AIDS, since you have such a strong conviction? Would you advise your children and grandchildren to do so?
        I stand by this: Condoms are never 100% safe, they DO NOT promote responsibility.
        Do care. That what my religion tells me.

  61. 76 clamdip
    February 5, 2010 at 17:28

    No, many fervent Christians turn to religion after living La Vida Loca. It’s such a hypocritical stance to me because they hurt so many people, selling drugs, visiting prostitutes, cheating in business then suddenly they’ve had an epiphany and become good Christians. After all that, I would feel undeserving to call myself a Christian.

    • 77 DWF
      February 6, 2010 at 02:07

      @clamdip:
      A Christian is a person who follows Christ. Do you have a problem with Christ? or a problem with Christians? Judge them not. Leave the judging to Christ,on Judgement day. The Church is not just some club that people enrol themselves in.There are many sinners in the Church. Believe in God’s ability to lead them back to Himself – have an epiphany yourself.

  62. 78 Robyn Lexington, KY USA
    February 5, 2010 at 17:42

    Just because a person is religious, does not automatically make them a person of good character. Like all things in life members of a church consist of both good and bad people. We have the idiots from the church in Kansas who think protesting military funerals is a stance against gay people. Talk about twisted logic. Anyone can say they are religious, but that doesn’t mean they practice their faith in a good manner.

  63. February 5, 2010 at 17:54

    Hi,

    I have had bitter experiences with religious people especially priests/clergy as high up as Bishops.

    They profess to place you always in the context of the Bible but when you accuse one of their clothe then the story is different. It then becomes personal and they side with their religious.

    They are ever ready to made promises and because we say they are priests, we say that they will keep their promises or commitments.

    This is a figment of the imagination they are notorious for braking all commitments and promises at the drop of the hat.

    So being religious is no grounds for beig let off your punishment no matter how trival or serious it is.

    Philip.

  64. 80 Roy, Washington DC
    February 5, 2010 at 17:55

    I have a spotless record, save for a minor traffic ticket over ten years ago. I do volunteer work for the community (I’m actually at the local Emergency Operations Center right now, helping out with a major snow event). Does the fact that I also happen to be atheist show I have poor character?

  65. 81 clamdip
    February 5, 2010 at 17:57

    Having said that though, I do believe in redemption which, to me, means coming out of one’s cloud like unconscious state. If one ever does find oneself then redeeming one’s sins by being a better, more conscious human being and helping improve other people’s lives is a very powerful healer. In the end it all comes back to oneself. Heal thyself first so you don’t have to hurt others through your unconscious acts.

  66. February 5, 2010 at 18:42

    Cheerie Blair is a very astute judge with real humility. Perhaps she was giving the man the benefit of the doubt on the grounds that this man had not been in trouble before. Further she took into consideration that this was a man who is religious and who would consequently regret his act of violence. Her religious convictions did play a part in her decision; her faith in humanity. Cheerie should be praised for her courage and humanity.

  67. 83 margaret
    February 5, 2010 at 18:57

    Absolutely not. Some of the worst people I’ve ever known are religious (specifically Christians); some of the best people I’ve known are agnostic or atheist. I feel that at least in the USA and I suspect in a few other countries as well that the worst thing you can be is “irreligious”–declaring yourself as an atheist can put your life in peril. We certainly have “religious” people all over the world justifying murder apparently without any crisis of conscience.

    Margaret Tacoma, WA

  68. 84 Eric in France
    February 5, 2010 at 19:16

    Hello,

    utterly preposterous! Since when is being religious and practising having more societal values than an atheist. If this is not overruled, I would suggest all UK prisoners to claim that being atheist the government is descriminatory by nature. Therefore, no fair trial can be managed in such country. As a consequence, the British government should claim loud and clear that Guantanamo must be closed because it is filled by very religious people that have proven good behaviour during their detention!

    Take care.

  69. 85 Irene in Texas
    February 5, 2010 at 19:35

    Pardoning someone on the basis of religion is definitely a sign of bad character.

  70. 86 Mary : Cape Coral, FL
    February 5, 2010 at 19:36

    ok so going to church is a good thing. fine, but that should have nothing at all to do with a prison sentence. you have way to many people that are faithful to there religion and still do horrible things. Our worlds history has so much of this. but then what would happen to me who is not religious at all, what would be my sentence?

  71. 87 A.J.
    February 5, 2010 at 19:41

    Being a law abiding person who hasn’t been in trouble with the law before is certainly a good reason to consider a reduced or lighter sentence, depending , of course, on the circumstances. Being religious, however is NOT. There are plenty of examples of individuals professing their faith to God who do or have done horrible things. They are religious extremists. For example: The Klan are Christian, Al Qaeda are Muslim, etc. If a judge in the U.S. used religion as a consideration in sentencing in this way there would be an eruption of protest and outrage for mixing “church and state”. The religious populace would be cheering wildly, it would set an awful precedent and true justice would be compromised.

  72. 88 David Chitwood
    February 5, 2010 at 19:41

    My father in-law is a perfect of example of bad character in a religious person. He attends church every Sunday, regularly tithes, and often talks about his spirituality and the importance of his faith. But he’s the most self-centered person I know. He’s a shady person in his business dealings, and has made it clear that money is more important to him than his family. He, and people and like him, are the reason I’m not religious.

    David, Oklahoma City

  73. 89 Jenny
    February 5, 2010 at 19:41

    Being religious is not, in and of itself, a good thing – the suicide bombers killing pilgrims in Karbala this week are, presumably, religious. Likewise, the guy that was just convicted in Colorado for killing the doctor who performed late-term abortions based his actions on his beliefs. I would certainly not excuse any of them from prosecution or punishment on basis of their faith.

    On the other hand, many people’s religiosity results in their having strong community and familial ties and having a built-in peer pressure system that will prevent them from being recidivists or flight risks. The fact that the individual in question has not been in trouble before is also pertinent. He is being held to account – the sentence was suspended, not voided.

  74. 90 audre
    February 5, 2010 at 19:46

    If we are to give people preference because of their religious beliefs then that would have to be extended to all beliefs, not just Christians. Would Ms. Blair be so quick to give deference to a devout Muslim or Hindu?

    Should not Judges judge the facts and leave their beliefs at home?

  75. 91 sarah
    February 5, 2010 at 19:47

    What about catholic priests who have molested little boys? Should we forgive them because they are religious? Hiding behind religion is just as bad if not worse than an “un-religious” person committing a crime.

    • 92 DWF
      February 6, 2010 at 12:34

      @Sarah
      We are called to forgive everyone. The Pope forgave his attacker. A missionary in India Gladys Staines forgave those who killed her family members….Christ himself asked the Father to forgive us.
      Why are the priests always targetted, seemingly with glee? Doctors abuse patients regularly, how come their example is never used? Is it because they aspire to a higher standard and quite often, fail?
      It’s only the ones that get caught, get punished. The rich and powerful get away scot free, and no one bats an eyelid.
      Let him that be without sin, cast the first stone.

      • 93 Lily
        February 8, 2010 at 12:50

        DWF, I can’t help reading your comments when I come across them. Are you saying that if someone killed or harmed a member of your family you would forgive them? That is like saying that you can do bad deeds because people are called to forgive you after them. If someone laid a hand on my child, there is nothing in the world that could make me forgive that person. Could you really forgive someone for causing unnecessary and undeserved pain and suffering to your child?

      • 94 DWF
        February 9, 2010 at 05:21

        @Lily
        We are called to forgive, yet it is left to the person’s individual choice whether to forgive or not. That is thanks to the free will given to all of us by God.
        We are all being attacked and harmed on a daily basis, some of them minor some of them grave. Not all attacks are physical, but they can be emotional as well. If we choose not to forgive, we run the risk of harming ourselves and others. If we choose to take everyone who harms us, to court don’t you think our prisons would be bursting at the seams (aren’t they already?)
        I don’t know how much harm I am capable of forgiving, till it actually does happen.But I know my priest confessor will guide me at the right time.

  76. 95 Katie Nicholson
    February 5, 2010 at 19:47

    If we ask this question, then we must ask what is good character. These types of questions usually do not end in an answer, as seen in works by Plato, in fact he stress that in order to establish good character one must take religion out of the picture itself. But another question raised is : is it right because god commands it or does god command it because its right. Both questions lead to no answer….we will be debating about this question for a very, very long time.

  77. 96 Tom D Ford
    February 5, 2010 at 19:54

    Geez, you get to break someones jaw and then get a free “get out of jail card”, just because you claim you’re a Bible Thumper?

    What a great Hustle!

    Now every criminal will show up in court thumping on their brand shiny new Bible!

    Good time to buy stock in a Bible Publisher, sales to criminals are going to go through the roof.

    Sheesh.

  78. 97 robin burke
    February 5, 2010 at 19:56

    Her ruling is simply crazy. A guy seriously assualts someone & walks on the basis of his faith & then no previous convictions. If this judgement becomes a president, then we are in some serious trouble. Will it come to the point that an atheist will have less right to justice based on their choice to not align themselves to a mass faith.

  79. 98 Michelle
    February 5, 2010 at 19:56

    I live in America’s “Bible Belt” where I am (I’m guessing) in a 5-10% minority as an atheist. The attitude that is exhibited by the judge’s remark is prevalent in this region. I find this comment offensive because I find this point of view offensive and narrow minded. I have a good character and many atheists I know are good, peaceful people. I know right from wrong, I have a conscience, I behave in a way that causes no harm to others, I am intelligent, tolerant, caring and have common sense. These are the character traits that define someone of good character. I don’t need a god to tell me how to behave, I have ethics and I would NEVER punch anyone in the jaw, under any circumstances.

    Michelle
    Indiana

    • 99 Saut
      February 5, 2010 at 22:11

      Michelle, you are a good person based on you your own testimony and personal endorsement. You are right to be aggrieved when the word “religious” is referenced, since; all atheists are good and law-abiding citizens. Besides your many positive traits, perhaps, some sympathy and empathy from you for this first time offender will be just as nice.

  80. 100 Tom D Ford
    February 5, 2010 at 19:59

    The Nazis had “Gott Mit Uns” on their belt buckles!

  81. 101 Ole Bunger
    February 5, 2010 at 19:59

    would we come to the point to collect good actions and then go free if we do something bad???

  82. 102 Tom D Ford
    February 5, 2010 at 20:14

    I find that religionists have the least trustworthy character, after all, since they are willing to lie to themselves, why would they not lie to me?

    Religionists simply are not to be trusted.

  83. 103 E Blackburn
    February 5, 2010 at 20:15

    Would Cherie have let her husband off as he is (so we are informed ) a very good Christian, audience with the Pope, probably got absolution, He with his great friend even had a private words from his God. a better christian would be hard to find. Of course she would … we all know that he is inocent. don’t we?

  84. 104 Mbita ryan silutongwe
    February 5, 2010 at 20:22

    Not all that are religious are of good character or have good morals?

  85. February 5, 2010 at 20:29

    I have less trust in someone who is religious to know right from wrong than I do someone who isn’t: If you need a book to tell you the difference, then how can I trust you?

    • 106 DWF
      February 6, 2010 at 12:25

      @Maria

      I presume you were named after the Blessed Virgin. Don’t we all need books to tell us the difference and enlighten us? or is speech your only mode of communication? What better book than the Bible to guide and enlighten us. Do not put your trust only in human beings, who can manipulate you to suit their own ends .The Blessed Virgin had enough faith to say yes to God, at great risk to her reputation. You could model your life after her. Thats why we religious need books- no need to re-invent the wheel..The Religious have the scriptures to fall back on, as a spiritual compass- what do Atheists have?

  86. 107 E Blackburn
    February 5, 2010 at 20:33

    Religious people are better none believing persons? Read Numbers 31. who could be more religious than Moses? I know. God would be more religious than even Moses
    Take a read and see how forgiving were Moses and God. after all God was the boss in this case. Read it. Read it all.

  87. 108 gurt
    February 5, 2010 at 21:13

    A truly horrific statement on Ms.Boothe’s part and deeply troubling for the supposed neutrality of the court.
    Being religious is neither here nor there in a court of law. If it is, then it is no longer a court of law, but a place for one set of people to haphazardly alter the course of other people’s life.
    What next? Automatic prison sentences for atheists?
    Do all religions count or only the ones the judges deem established enough?

    Why even bother having laws at all? This is utterly outrageous and an extremely slippery slope.

    On a more personal note I did once attend a debate where Ms Booth was on the panel. At the time I was impressed by her intelligence and insight, sadly not so much anymore.

  88. 109 Cheshire Pete
    February 5, 2010 at 22:37

    Basically, this debate, and the WHYS programme on this topic has been totally phony. You have started this polarising debate with no complete knowledge of the facts in the case whatsoever. You don’t know why Blair was looking for a a reason for clemency, or any of the mitigating circumstances that may, or may not have been, present in her judgement. You have just blindly followed a report generated by a press release from the NSS, which it issued to suit it’s own purposes and political agenda. You don’t seem to have a clue about what judges say to defendants to justify the sentencing criteria, often imposed upon them by their superiors.

    Frankly, I feel that it has been poor journalism from start to finish. It is an attack on Mrs Blair’s integrity, it is an attack on the criminal justice system. It’s sole reason is to start a spurious debate amongst people who are just as willing to jump to pointless conclusions as the WHYS editorial team obviously is. There was no attempt to suggest any other reason for her actions than the one you wanted discussed.

    If you just wanted to start a debate over whether or not having a religion makes you more of less moral, then that is a fair thing to do, and there is lots of academic evidence and studies that have been done. I’m sure you could have framed a simple debate for WHYS people to comment upon without this dumbed down and uncritical use of a news story generated by a biased interest group, which makes the UK and it’s legal system look more stupid than it often appears to be.

  89. 110 Bert
    February 5, 2010 at 23:42

    All I can conclude is that this was another example of truly egregious political correctness. No rational person in this day and age can possibly believe that claiming to be religious is any proof of moral character. On the contrary, if anything. Such claims are used as excuses by people who carry out the most outrageous acts. In the name of whoever they call their maker.

    The only sensible course here would have been to say that a religious person should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for beating up on the other guy, and can do his penance while sitting in a jail cell.

  90. 111 Alaric
    February 6, 2010 at 01:30

    Judicial process does not relate to religion, religious knowledge or religious practices. To try and infer that association with religion or religious groups has a positive influence upon character is, in and of itself, an absurdity. To infer that it has a negative impact upon character is just as absurd. To think that a “judge” would consider anything to do with religion in a courtroom sentencing is a gross miscarriage of judicial process. Law in the UK and in most Western Societies, however constructed, is not based upon the need for or the rejection of religion, It cannot therefore be allowed to corrupt the judicial process at any stage of a trial. Cherie Blair should not have the privilege of being in the position of passing sentence upon anybody if religiosity is her measure of right and wrong. In the UK and elsewhere, people depend upon the law to be fair and to be fairly interpreted in relation to facts, not character or religion.

    • 112 firemensaction
      February 8, 2010 at 20:01

      I totally agree. Mrs Blair should face some form of sanction for allowing her FAITH to interfere with her secular duty.
      If she does not know this, perhaps the Chief Justice should tell her?
      One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding!
      Also, stating your religion reveals that you hold an opinion on something for which there is no evidence either way.
      As history shows, persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic, because in arithmetic there is knowledge, but in theology there is only opinion!

  91. 113 Aroun Rashid Deen
    February 6, 2010 at 01:55

    I think it all depends on how the decision maker (in this instance, Judge Blair) perceives (1) being religious, and (2) who is being religious. Another judge would have thought differently. Judge Blair, I believe, holds the view that religion (at least the one she follows) is the foundation for orderly society and truly religious people are symbolic of that. In as much as some might disagree with her, it is fact that the Christian faith is the base of the modern rule of law.

  92. 114 Tan Boon Tee
    February 6, 2010 at 03:40

    Are all religious people of sound character?

    It looks like the balance of justice has been tilted in favour of one’s religion. Quite flabbergasting!

  93. 115 Donald Lax
    February 6, 2010 at 06:56

    Professing any particular sectarian religion is a quite different thing from effectively practicing belief in good moral teaching. Atheists may indeed to all societal appearances practice what would be quite rightly considered as admirable humanistic values but it does not change the fact that if they actively try to dissuade others from believing in the Creator they nonetheless encourage them to violate the first of the two Great Commandments “Love God above all else and secondly love your neighbor as yourself”. We are not given enough information about the guilty person to allow us to form any very well informed opinion about the circumstances which led to the “assault” or indeed whether it resulted in any serious injury to the other party or was more in the way of something which could be called assault only in the most technical sense of the term. That being the case I am willing to give the judge the benefit of the assumption that just perhaps she is a perceptive intuitor of character. Those who would reflexively deny that possibility based merely on the sparse facts we have here are betraying their ingrained prejudices as having much more sway over the opinions they express than objective facts do.

  94. February 6, 2010 at 10:54

    BBC, please give some contexts, including a few sentences about the nature of the assault etc; and was the offender remoreseful, and had shhe already made restitution, driven by the moral imperatives of his religion ?

    Ros, don’t just set out to produce heat without light.

  95. 117 Shadrack Nuer Machut
    February 6, 2010 at 13:38

    Religion whether traditional or Biblical is a binding relationship among the community which believes it. There must be a good concept about it, to let everyone do not commit evil actions. God is believed by all human being to the living one.

  96. February 6, 2010 at 15:38

    Its one thing being religious quite another to be holy
    Being religious can be at times fanatical , striving , not at all holy ,adhering to rules not even always understood. indoctrination, keeping up old habits, frightened to move from childhood teachings and learned behavi.
    It is not necessary to be religious, to be holy,
    One can be and holy but not necessary religious.

  97. 119 Elias
    February 6, 2010 at 19:03

    Being religious is one’s private matter, it has nothing to do with good character.

  98. 120 Barbara from Oregon
    February 6, 2010 at 20:48

    Not at all!! A religious person can indeed be wicked.

    Cloaking hatred as religion is a time honored tradition for many people.

    Religion itself is not to blame. I actually do not know of any of the world’s great religions for which intolerance, murder and hatred are central precepts. What happens is that wicked, intolerant people choose to deliberately misinterpret and distort the religious teachings in order to feel virtuous in their hatred. By deciding religion must include a hatred for a specific group, these people effectively transform any feeling of self guilt for this hatred into what they choose to perceive as a religious precept. This allows the freedom to hate anyone or anything yet avoid the inconvenience of a conscience.

    “I am not to blame for hating them,” they can say. “My religion teaches against them and I must blindly follow (my version) of my religion.!”

  99. 121 Donald Lax
    February 7, 2010 at 05:23

    The people who truly delude themselves are those who are so fearful of having to realize that human beings are not the measure of all things that they will quite enthusiastically accept the completely unscientific fantasy of accidentally self-generating bacteria as preferable to the more reasonable assumption that intelligence proceeds from pre-existing intelligence and life from pre-existing life. Every competent empirical experiment ever conducted proves this and therefore an intelligent Creator does indeed exist and gives moral guidance to thinking humans. The fact that not all are persuaded to act based upon His great gift simply proves that He created humans with free will. I have read here that it supposed that this man punched somebody in the face but in fact a rude but otherwise harmless shove could be ginned up into an assault charge and I doubt anyone who has hastily pronounced their own judgement in this blog really knows any of the relevant details of the specific case. If I (as a presumably “bad, deluded” person simply because I profess belief in God) have no special extra-sensory percetion in this regard I will trust that those who claim to believe in nothing supernatural have even less grounds to claim that they do.

    • 122 Lily
      February 8, 2010 at 16:04

      Donald, no one is claiming that you are a bad person for believing in God but you cannot claim that it has been proven that an “intelligent creator” exists! When was that announcement made because I think the rest of the world missed out on it. I just can’t grasp how you can claim that people who don’t believe that God created the earth and man are living a fantasy?!? Now I have no problem with peoples beliefs, you can believe in whatever you like but you cannot belittle people who don’t share your views.

  100. 123 Dennis Junior
    February 7, 2010 at 05:49

    Although, I think that [Judge] Cherie Blair made a insane decision regarding the case and, suspending the prison sentence of this gentlemen; But, being religious is NOT evidence of having GOOD intentions….

    =Dennis Junior=

  101. February 7, 2010 at 08:05

    I thought we do not do God in our parliament. Why doing God in our court?

  102. 125 audre
    February 7, 2010 at 12:35

    @Donald Lax

    For me the problem with the sentencing… and you are right, we may not know the details… is that Judge Blair brought religion into a legal process.

    We do not need details to be alarmed about that.

  103. 126 MAXINE - UNITED KINGDOM
    February 7, 2010 at 14:10

    No, being relidious doesnt make you better than anyone else, There are good & bad in every walks of life. I know good people who are not religious and good people who are. I also know horrible people who are religious and horrible people who dont do religion. I think it just depends on the person. Some people are naturally nice, others are naturally horrible

  104. February 7, 2010 at 19:45

    The people that had jesus executed were religious .Are thay now to be considered good men.

  105. 128 John LaGrua/New York
    February 7, 2010 at 22:14

    Her decision was a judgement call which if based on past clean record of the defendent could be justified /There is much religious posturing in the world and I trust she saw something more morally defining than outward appearance ,Contrition and repentance may be served in particular cases by lience than by harsh punishment.No one would benefit more from this stance than Tony Blair who has been given the time to reflect on the misery he caused in Irag and with aid of his new adopted Catholicism recognize his moral failure and humbely seek forgiveness. Miracles do happen!

  106. 129 Terry in UK
    February 7, 2010 at 23:09

    Everyone should be equal before the law – religious belief, or lack of belief, should be irrelevant. Religious belief is most certainly NOT a sign of ‘good character’ nor of ‘honesty’. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Cherie Booth QC is an absolute disgrace – her comments reveal that she is incapable of acting with objectivity and impartiality. She is clearly unfit to be a judge – she should be sacked and stripped of her QC status.

  107. 130 Terry in UK
    February 7, 2010 at 23:51

    With regard to my previous comment, please note that Cherie Booth is, of course, Cherie Blair! Booth is Mrs. Blair’s maiden/professional name which she uses when acting as a judge.

    In addition, I have just read the earlier comment from Donald Lax , which I have to say is complete and utter nonsense. His claim that, “Every competent empirical experiment ever conducted proves […] an intelligent Creator does indeed exist and gives moral guidance to thinking humans” is blatantly untrue. There is no evidence and certainly no (scientific) experiment that “proves” the existence of “an intelligent Creator”. Belief in such a supernatural being is entirely a matter of (blind) faith. Donald Lax is deluding himself if he believes otherwise.

  108. 131 vijay pillai
    February 8, 2010 at 05:23

    Problem with many viewers is they cannot get out of the narrow religious focus or this judge happened to be wife ot former PM.GIve credit to the judge for giving a suspended sentence based on the kwno fact that there were cry from the public for judges not to send to overcrowded prison for monor and not so severe offences.Further it can be savely assumed if one is religious and live in a multi racial,multi relious and multi cutural society, people form majory community need to excercise restrain and show to minorities that dont take the law into your own hands and mahe out your own pinishment for nimor offences or disputes with fellow citizens.
    One can see current malaysian PM, a fair minded and very cutured man now building an inclusive malaysia where all communities can feel equal irrespective of race or religion.

    Judge Cheri Blair,QC , is a well known human rights lawyer in her rights and a breadth of fresh air indeed,we need to welcome her judgement and ,law is an ass ,one would say but moral rights of religous people should be upheld.

  109. 132 Neil
    February 8, 2010 at 11:52

    Being religious surely means you believe in something …it’s a personal thing. But to automatically have the ability to have good character does not come from the fact that you are religious…you must have the desire to be and do “good” as the religion asks.

  110. February 8, 2010 at 12:23

    OH! It is a v–e-ry good question. I am former Seminarian and when I was in seminary before I left, I witnessed many contradictory things to our religious beliefs.We are in the religious crisis today where hypocrisy, dishonesty, lies, immorality and maladministration have invaded the church, and as a result, the Christian principles are being lost and many believers are moving away from Christianity because the clergy practice what they do not preach! The church personalities are misusing Christianity for their own benefits. This is shown by different churches mushrooming in different places in our cities today. Therefore, the Church needs revolution like that of the famous 1789 French Revolution. Oh God! save us!!!

  111. 134 Anna
    February 8, 2010 at 12:50

    No!
    You only need to cast a view over the past and realise all the crimes commited by religious people in the name of their beliefs.

  112. 135 viola
    February 8, 2010 at 15:24

    Being religious is not necessarily evidence of good character. It is but one of many pieces of evidence that, put together, leads to a conclusion that the character is basically good and that the person being tried for breaking another man’s jaw in a fight probably won’t be a repeat offender so what would be the point of putting him in prison?

    Maybe the other person started the fight. Winning the fight doesn’t automatically signify guilt or a need for punishment.

    He should have been sentenced to rehabililtative training to help him find other ways to handle disputes. So should the loser of the fight have been.

    Canada

  113. 136 robin rattansingh
    February 8, 2010 at 17:10

    being religious means nothing in this i highly deceiving environment we live in today,should we forgive every catholic priest or otherwise of wrong doing based on spirtual career or should we forgive extremism in the middle east?,of course he is religious as well,what insanity is this? every form of gathering/worship by man to honor or to serve god, idols or even man is or can be considered a religion,personal beliefs and values based on the ideals of the religion does not make the PERSON GOOD!!

  114. 137 Tom D Ford
    February 8, 2010 at 19:20

    “Is being religious evidence of a good character?”

    No.

    It is the exact opposite.

    A religious person has to constantly repeat the lie that they tell themselves, the First Great Lie that children are told, that there is some supernatural being that they have to worship and pray to.

    A religious person is a psychologically damaged person who is trained to keep damaging them-self, so that their rulers can control and manipulate them.

    A religious person does not take personal responsibility for their own life, they give that responsibility over to Priests who then tell them to do whatever the ruling classes want them to do. That is why African Slaves were forcibly converted to Christianity and the same for American Indians.

    Well, that’s my opinion anyway. And my experience. And the result of my studying the history of Religions.

  115. 138 loudobservant
    February 8, 2010 at 23:39

    Met Hendriks: well said,presented and portrayed: well done.The most recent example of American brutality and barbarism,to show off might and power and dominance, is the Hiroshima and Nagasaki,in Japan,during WWII.The irony and the tragedy of the whole sordid affair is that the aftermaths are still felt and evident to date.
    But,ALAS!! The super power has not yet derived a lesson from it.


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