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January 23, 2002 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-23

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 23, 2002


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SINCE 1890 V

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

t tt s amazing
the insight that
can gain from
5,000 miles away."


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- Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld in
yesterday's New York Times on concerns
expressed by British parliamentarians over
the treatment of al-Qaida and Taliban
detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay.


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I don't care if God tells you it's wrong

he biblically-
inspired Spanish
Inquisition ought
to have convinced the
k; world that justifying
one.'s actions through
..religious channels is
unsound. Since the hor-
rors of the Inquisition
failed, perhaps the politi-
cal and philosophical thought of the Enlight-
enment and post-Enlightenment ought to
have convinced the world that justifying
one's actions through religious channels is
unsound. Since political and philosophical
thought has failed, perhaps the presence of
religious theocracies in the Arab world that
breed terrorists ought to have shown the
world that justifying one's actions through
religious channels is unsound.
Perhaps the next round of political and
philosophical thought will convince the
world that justifying one's actions through
religious channels is unsound. Pardon rie for
not holding my breath.
If there's one salient lesson to be learned
from human history - from Greek child
sacrifice to Hindu widow burning to Islamic
veils - it is this: Whatever good has come
from actions motivated by religion pales in
comparison to the egregious offenses afflict-
ed upon humanity by religion. The bad out-
weighs the good - by an incredibly large
One can argue about the boldness of that
statement, but take the following example:
The American Life League has recently
decided that The Washington Times caters
to "a group of liberal anti-Catholic bigots,"
according to ALL's illustriously uninformed
president, Judie Brown. The hilarity of this
statement, as anyone who has read The
Washington Times knows, is that the news-
paper is anything but liberal.
So the question is this: What has
Brown's chastity belt in a tangle?
ALL funded a libelous advertisement in

the Times (which can be viewed at
http://www.all.org/news/cffcad.pdf) which
attacked Frances Kissling of Catholics For a
Free Choice. CFFC has committed the cardi-
nal sin of (brace yourself) suggesting that
there ought to be condoms in Africa. Con-
doms and Catholicism don't mix very well,
since the "go forth and procreate" tenet con-
flicts pretty soundly with the "safe sex can
stop the spread of AIDS" tenet. Essentially,
CFFC is suggesting that Catholic beliefs are
in conflict with African realities - and
therefore, ought to be scrapped. My religion
shouldn't make you die.
The "sins" of CFFC don't stop there.
They support abortion (on non-religious
grounds), they support stem-cell research
(on non-religious grounds) - they essential-
ly wave the banner of Catholics who realize
that religious dogma and political primacy
are like beer before liquor: A really bad idea.
ALL's response has been to martyr itself
on every possible level. Political martyrdom
is nothing new; Cornel West martyred him-
self to the white upper class when Harvard
President Lawrence Summers had the audac-
ity to suggest that he live up to academic
standards, former President Bill Clinton
martyred himself to the "vast right-wing
conspiracy" when his blowjobs became a
political issue and Mumia Abu Jamal mar-
tyred (and continues to martyr) himself to
racism when he killed a police officer.
But political martyrdom is particularly
funny when a conservative majority (reli-
gious white people) martyr themselves to
"liberal bias" - especially when the liberal
bias comes in the form of The Washington
Times. The Washington Times!"
I ought not even write this column
because of the ridiculousness of these
claims: The Washington Times is roughly as
"liberally biased" as Dick "the heart attack"
Cheney. yo why does Judie Brown get so
worked up about the elimination of an uncre-
ative advertisement that calls Frances
Kissling "Con-Dumber." (Get it? Condom

... Con-dumber ... it's fiumy!)
The problem is that the abortion debate
(and the larger reproductive freedoms
debate) is being railroaded by religious
dogma. Here's the facts: You can be
opposed to abortion on secular grounds and
(here's the kicker) you can make a better
point if you do so. I, a non-Christian, don't
particularly care if Jesus thinks abortion is
wrong. I, an American, do care if abortion
violates Constitutional precepts of human
rights. Do you see where I'm going with
Being religious is a personal thing; if you
want to guide your life by the words of a
carpenter's son turned prophet or a camel
herder turned warrior, that's fine. But at
least understand one thing: Just as my reli-
gion means shit to you, your religion means
shit to me. So let's not try to guide our
mutual society by religious precepts that
don't mean anything to everyone.
I'm not being anti-religious per se. I
understand the role of religion in giving peo-
ple a philosophical grounding for their lives.
Religious (and atheistic) beliefs might not
stand up to every line of logical attack, but
they are nonetheless important in giving
people a philosophical basis for their lives.
The key is individualism. If God tells you
that sex before marriage is a sin, don't have
sex before marriage. If God tells you not to
have an abortion, don't have an abortion. If
God tells you to shave your head and tattoo
"The Ozzman Cometh" on your scalp, shave
your head and tattoo "The Ozzman Cometh"
on your scalp.
But if you want to convince me, along
with the rest of the world, that what your
God tells you to do is right, you'll have to
convince me, along with the rest of the
world, using secular means.
Because your God means shit to me, and
my God means shit to you.



Manish Raiji can be reached via
e-mail at mraiji@umich.edu.


Basford's comment
clouded real issues of
rape and victimhood
We'd like to address a specific com-
ment made by Mike Basford, president of
Beta Theta Pi, in an article in yesterday's
Daily ("Inquiry of rapes at Beta dropped").
"It affects everyone of us. Being
labeled as a rapist isn't anything anyone
should have to go through."
Here's a thought, Mike. Being raped
isn't anything that anyone should ever
have to go through.
By pointing out that "being labeled as a
rapist" is an experience that no one should
have to endure, Basford is exemplifying
the real nature of the problem - taking
attention away from the victims of rape
and placing it on those whose innocence
has been called into question. It's a
method used time and time again to ignore
the crime and victimize the criminal. The
"labels" are not the problem.
Labels go away. I can guarantee that
five years from now when most of us have
left the University, no one is going to
remember the event that allegedly occurred
on Oct. 25 or the fraternity that it allegedly
occurred at. The label will be gone. For the
survivors of rape, it won't go away so
Years don't erase the feelings and
memories of humiliation, shame and viola-
tion that are consequences of being raped.
Five years from now, when your friends
are no longer living with labels, whether or
not they deserved them, the thousands of
survivors of rape will still be living with
the memories of what it was like to be
LSA sophomores

Guantanamo detainees
should 'rot in hell'

How naive is the Daily? In its impas-
sioned complaints about the Taliban
detainees ("Human Wrongs,"1/22/01), it
misses the point that these monsters are
dangerous terrorists. I feel really bad that
we are inconveniencing them with so-
called human rights violations. First of
all, to have human rights, one has to be
human, which I highly doubt these bar-
barians are.'
These prisoners are shackled, bound
and hooded because they have proven in
the past to be extremely dangerous,
obeying no law and respecting no author-
ity. In Afghanistan, they attempted a
prison uprising more than once. The
American soldiers and guards should be
protected against them, even if that does
mean restricting the detainees move-
As for housing them within the U.S.?
Is the Daily insane? The security hazards
of housing them anywhere besides their
current prison are not worth moving
Guantanamo Bay is the perfect alter-
native. The detainees are being treated
more fairly than they ever treated any-

one. They are given clean clothes, mat-
tresses and towels. They are given meals
three times a day. They are not taken into
full soccer stadiums where they are sum-
marily executed with a gun shot to the
back of the head.
Where do we draw the line of who
gets human rights? These Taliban and al-
Qaida detainees are the worst scum ever
known to human kind. They kill without
reason, having an impassioned hate for
you and me. Their goal in life is to kill
innocents, whether they be Afghani,
American or Israeli.
They are without remorse and would
rather die taking innocents with them. To
grant them any luxuries that we associate
with normal human rights would be a
slap in the face of the memory of the
Twin Towers.
So, I say to the Daily, Amnesty Inter-
national and other misguided liberalites
who feel they have to fight for the
detainees' human rights, shut up. We
don't want to hear it; we disagree with
you; we want these people to rot in hell.
Or at least in Cuba.


proportionately large for the service they
provide for society. Secondly, the blithe
causative relationship that Jessica Cash
("B-school jobs important for all,"
1/18/02) makes between the number of
associates hired by an I-banking firm and
the number of working class people hired
in the country is laughable.
I find repulsive the sentiment of entitle-
ment for a disproportionately compensated
and socially dubious job. Let us think
about what investment bankers do: They,

paid the same amount as any other hard
working recent graduate.
Cash tries to make the causative rela-
tionship between the number of investment
bank analysts and associates and the num-
ber of people hired "at all levels," includ-
ing the working class. This relationship is
impossible to prove, and I would suggest
the more likely opposite: That when there
are more people working for a living -
building houses, manufacturing cars,
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