Hide your face and weep, if you dare to harm a child.

I am royally, supremely pissed off. George Zimmerman was acquitted on the grounds of self defense for shooting the UNARMED Trayvon Martin. Here's the story. Trayvon, 17, 158lbs, was walking down the street in the dark and in the rain. He's holding nothing but a bag of skittles and a bottle of tea. Should he have been there? Probably not,but it's not illegal. George Zimmerman, 28, 200lbs, and the head of the neighborhood watch, sees Trayvon and calls 911, to report a suspicious person. This is where George's responsibility ends. The cops are on the way, and George is in his own vehicle where he should have stayed. Then, with the 911 operator still on the line, George grabs his gun, gets out of his vehicle, follows Trayvon, confronts him, provokes him, and shoots him in the chest at near point blank range. He then has the audacity to claim that it was self defense.

Lets look at the facts, George is 200lbs, while Trayvon is 158lbs. George has a 40lb weight advantage. George also has a membership at a mixed martial arts gym, so presumably he is capable of defending himself without a gun. Trayvon is a black kid growing up in the south, so he's likely learned some hard truths about walking alone at night. It wouldn't be a stretch of the imagination to think that he might have panicked when he heard an angry voice yelling out at him in the dark and the rain. Trayvon wouldn't have been startled and wouldn't have attacked George had he stayed in his car and let the police deal with it, if it was indeed trayvon that threw the first punch. Even then, George shot and killed a 17 year old boy, still a child in the eyes of the law.

George Zimmerman initiated the confrontation, and pulled the trigger. THIS IS MURDER! You don't get to claim self defense if you are the one who started the fight. And it isn't self defense if you have a gun, and the other guy has A FUCKING BAG OF SKITTLES!!!!

I am disappointed. George Zimmerman is a child murderer, and they let him go, and gave him back his weapon. It is times like this that I am ashamed to live in this country, especially when certain people can claim that a man who shoots and kills an unarmed black child is a hero, that he did the right thing. No, I'm more than disappointed, I am disgusted.

I'm even more disgusted at the incompetence of the prosecution. Aparently, all it takes to get away with killing a child in this country is a prosecuter that's asleep at the wheel and a jury full of NRA Nutjobs, because who else would let and ASSHOLE like George FUCKING Zimmerman go.

Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child. ~Christopher Hitchens.

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I have to share your frustration, @H3xx.   And Master Martin had every right to be there, since he was living in the neighborhood.

By the Florida "stand your ground" law, Martin had every right to "stand his ground" and confront Mr. Zimmerman for following him around the neighborhood suspiciously.   If Zimmerman flashed a gun, he had every right under the law to defend himself out of (really quite legitimate) fear.

It points to the utter absurdity of such laws that both the boy and the man can claim to be justified in attacking each other; and it points to the tragedy of American culture that both were so fearful of each other.  Far from being the home of the brave, many of us really are living in the land of the fearful. 

At the same time, our legal system is strongly biased in favor of the accused.  Like atheists, I suppose, the system demands proof beyond reasonable doubt.  We are willing to let people who are likely criminally responsible go, because we are unwilling to deprive anyone of liberty, or life, without relatively unimpeachable proof.  In the end, perhaps, as hard as it is in cases like this one, that approach is the right one. 

Maybe even something that it's still worth being proud of America for.

You know, before you stuck this bit in - "Like atheists, I suppose" - I was starting to wonder who you were and what you had done with Professor Robert.  But there it is.  Blot on an otherwise fairly reasonable landscape. 

You are on an atheist site.  You might as well have said "Like YOU but not ME, I suppose".  What effect were you aiming for there?  Surely not antagonism.

And no, we don't demand proof beyond reasonable doubt.  We'd just like evidence. Even a small bit of hard evidence would encourage us to consider it.  Welcome back, Professor Robert.

Come now, @Strega.  People here in the last few days have claimed that I support the rape of children, and you're going to take me to task for the gentlest of sideways ribbing on the level of proof required to buy into an idea?

Might I gently suggest that your credibility would be higher if you were willing to address the behavior of folks in your own tribe. 

Religion, particularly monotheistic religion and Christianity, is very highly correlated with successful social progress, societal stability, scientific progress, willingness to engage in free trade, give to charity, etc.  A majority of the world thinks it has useful explanatory power in terms of how they live their lives.   Your problem is you've so narrowed what you consider "evidence" that you've ruled out all the evidence.  

A side note here:

"Religion, particularly monotheistic religion and Christianity, is very highly correlated with successful social progress, societal stability, scientific progress, willingness to engage in free trade, give to charity, etc."

If you look at China from right after the Warring States period to about 1400 CE, you'll see that there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. They were a non-monotheistic culture (still are) that had many of these attributes. So I don't think it's easy to say that religion is the cause, which a very high correlation would imply. There are also many examples to show that that progress happened in spite of religions effects and that some degrees of progress were made as a counter to religious effects, but I won't discuss that any further here on this thread because I don't wish to pull it more off topic.

Religion also rapes women and children, takes slaves, burns witches, conducts crusades, flies planes into buildings, kills cartoonists for drawing funny pictures of a prophet, tells AIDS ridden Africans that they can't wear condoms, and taxes poor people so that they can decorate their leader in gold.

Might I suggest that if Christianity really wants to be such a staple as you suggest, that they give up their immunity to taxation? The property holdings from the Catholic Church alone would over fund the educational system.

No, H3xx.  Religion is just an idea or a system of ideas.   People rape women and children, take slaves, burn witches, etc. etc. 

With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. ~Steven Weinberg.

@ Bob - "Religion, particularly monotheistic religion and Christianity, is very highly correlated with successful social progress"

White bigoted fundamentalist Christians owning black people is progress?

Yeah, right.

I came on line late, today, and I notice that other TA members have addressed most of your points above.  All that is left for me to mention is the following:-

1. Gentle ribbing is customarily done between friends.

2. My credibility in your eyes is irrelevant to me.

3. I don't have a tribe, nor am I part of a cult or sect.

4. You have no idea what my views on relevant evidence might be.

Now for some questions:-

A. You stated early on that your intention on these forums was to enlighten misconceptions about Catholicism.  How do you feel that's going for you?

B. If you were an atheist on a Christian forum, how respectfully do you imagine your position would be addressed?

If you don't like "tribe," substitute "social circle".

It's interesting here in the U.S. that back under President Bush, many Democrats were very vocally opposed to a number of policies.  Now, under President Obama, they are silent or supportive about the same policies, even as those policies are in some cases expanded.   Their evaluation of the merits of an idea or behavior changes based on whether their social circle is engaged or not.

So I really was asking whether you felt it's OK to chastise someone outside your social circle for inserting a sideways thought, but to remain silent when someone who is within your social circle takes as a primary claim a statement that would be legal libel in both your country and mine.  

Is that fair?  Does it lead to better conversation, or well-reasoned discourse?

To address your (B) above, and continue my point, does it matter whether you feel, rightly or wrongly, that a group outside your social circle behaves badly on their forums?  If they behave less respectfully than they should, does that make it OK for you to do the same?

I have many social circles, Professor Robert.  Think Atheist is a forum of mainly free thinkers, discussing their various issues.  It's not really a club, and as you can see from many other threads, the members disagree with each other on almost every issue.

I am guessing that you mean the pedophilia issue, when you are talking about my remaining silent.  I don't have a background in religion, as I was brought up in a secular environment.  I haven't left a religion, I was never a part of one.  As a result, all I know of the pedophilia charges made against the Catholic church is what is reported in news.  I don't have statistics, and I don't have personal exposure to it.  In a nutshell, I am not anywhere near as informed, or affected, as others are here and elsewhere.

You have had the opportunity to express your views on this subject.  My personal thought, is that it might have been more effective (referring to my question A) if you had expressed some level of negativity regarding the pedophilia that seems to pervade the Catholic institution.  The gist of what I have read seems to show your defending your faith in perhaps one of the few areas that defence is inappropriate.  But it is my personal thought.

Another personal thought I had, was that your post above here, regarding the Zimmerman/Treyvon incident was a good one.  I was simply irritated at your need to spoil it with your atheist snipe.

Would I go outside an atheist forum and 'chastise' a theist?  Absolutely not.  However, I am aware that others do not feel as I do, and that is their choice.

I can only speak for myself, Professor Robert.  You need to take up your libel issues with those who you feel are libeling you.  Perhaps, if you feel strongly about it, you could hire a lawyer and take some legal action.

I did genuinely wonder, however, whether you were, in your own opinion, getting anywhere with your original stated intent of clearing up some misconceptions about the Catholic faith.  It wasn't a trick question, and you absolutely don't have to answer it.

@Strega, I was not referring to the pedophilia issue in general.  I was referring to claims that I personally supported the rape of children.

If I were on a theist forum of some sort and a theist poster made a claim like that about a particular visiting atheist, I would not remain silent.  I would take the person to the woodshed.

As to "expressing some level of negativity", I have said in a dozen places that it infuriates me, that Bernard Law was an ass who should be in jail, etc. etc.   What people here really seem to object to is that I question the fairness of ascribing the actions of individuals to an entire religion.  Yes, some Jewish bankers have done terrible things.  No, that's not because they're Jewish is the argument I'm making.   The counterargument is always to point with alarm and claim I'm defending Jewish bankers doing terrible things.

What's really interesting to me is that "freethinkers" buy in to that line of reasoning, since it has been responsible for so much evil in the world.

To answer your question would require a poll, I suppose, on how many people still feel Catholics are Biblical literalists or somesuch.  I suspect that at least a few now question that belief in themselves, though we still see that false claim.


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