The Raving Theist

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This Day in Atheism

February 17, 2009 | 11 Comments

From the Coshocton Tribune (Ohio), February 17, 1964:

The “right to conduct atheist propaganda” mentioned above was set forth in Article 124 of the 1936 Soviet Constitution (also known as the “Stalin” Constitution”). Although it is true that the religious were not given a specific right to proselytize like atheists in that section, Article 125 remedied this omission through a general grant of “free speech” so that any citizen who desired to show Stalin the error of his ways could do so with impunity. Also, note that the atheists were permitted only to propagandize in article 124, without the corresponding right to “worship” or otherwise act out on their worldview, other than by running the government.

That Constitution was next revised in 1977. Article 52 of that document pretty much preserved the status quo, except that believers also enjoyed a right “against “[i]ncitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds.”

I think the comment section here at TRT needs a Constitution. MK, Lily, Pikemann, Jolly and their designated agents are hereby appointed to the drafting committee.


11 Responses to “This Day in Atheism”

  1. Melissa
    February 17th, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

    Do think it’s possible for both “sides” to find “common ground” enough to draft a constitution? ;) Is there even any use in creating something that will later be twisted and refuted by future commentators as to what the founders words and intentions actually were? Who need boundaries anyways? Ever since America ditched its own constitution, and all it was founded on, we have been doing just great!! I’m sure our founding fathers would be so pleased to see just how good our lives, liberties, and levels of happiness are!! :)

  2. Skeptimal
    February 17th, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

    Setting aside the sarcasm with which I first wanted to respond, let me suggest that you say why you think a constitution is needed. It might help the rest of us to know what you think has been inappropriate on the site lately.

  3. Nile the Jolly
    February 17th, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

    I wonder if TRT had called for a new constitution when people were making the comments cursing Islam in previous years. Coming from a muslim country and although having left the religion, being aware that it is being labeled as only stoning and jihad so unfairly, I had been quite upset with the hostiliy and hatred of the language used in those comments and decided to stop commenting here. It was Lily, who had written telling me to stay around, “otherwise we will bore ourselves agreeing with each other”. Some of you and Lily will remember this.

    I really could not get the message of this post – it might be due to English being my second language. TRT need not publish any comments of commenters he/she finds unsuitable; so I don’t think it makes sense to warn people.

    I’m an adult and I need no favor from any blogger to accept my comments on condition. TRT, you will miss the color I brought to this blog with my enthusiastic conversation.

  4. Lily
    February 17th, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

    I do remember very well, Nile and I am very glad you are here! I don’t want to seem prejudiced but that thread that upset you was two or more years ago when this was still an atheist blog. The crudity of the language a large number of the responders customarily used then has to be seen to be believed. It was really vile. There is a very different set of readers responding today.

    I don’t know what RT has in mind. If we were really going to have a constitutiton, i.e. a set of rules for comments, someone would have to moderate, make decisions as to whether or not a comment violated the rules and delete them or warn the writer. That is a time commitment someone would have to make.

    I have mixed feelings about the subject of moderating or trying to control comments. I don’t think self-regulation would work. Then, some people have a higher tolerance for nasty language than others. I would love to see vitriolic messages with little or no substance deleted but even that has a subjective element.

    I guess RT needs to tell us plainly what he has in mind.

  5. Helen
    February 17th, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

    I could be projecting here, but I suspect the purpose is just to get both sides working together and agreeing on something. I suspect the purpose is merely to find values that we all agree on. By doing that, we will see the other more kindly. Again, I could be projecting.
    Sorry for the intrusion. Technically, I am not part of this Constitutional Convention. ;-)

  6. Lily
    February 17th, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

    You are in Helen. I am naming you one of my “designated agents”.

  7. frustrated(mk)
    February 17th, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

    Holy Moly! I just left Jill’s!

    Okay, here’s my take. I understand that things can get out of control. Been there. Done that. I have a pretty high tolerance (mother of 5 boys) for some pretty nasty stuff. When I get upset is when the nasty takes over.

    On Jills, we started out with about 20 of us, equally split down pro life pro choice lines. It took A LOT of effort, but we managed pretty well. I was online 5 or 6 hours EVERY DAY for two years. Eventually we needed 5 moderators.

    Things went well for almost two years. Then the blog got so big it was almost impossible.

    I can tell you that when it was smaller, some of the nastiest people came on…and over time they turned out to be some of my dearest friends. It really is a matter of seeing “past” the nastiness, and really hearing what is being said.

    Once it got too big tho, it was no longer a joy to rush to my computer in the morning. It became a bash fest and I just couldn’t keep up. It sucked the life out of me.

    So my advice is keep the rules simple. We didn’t allow swearing or ethnic slurs. No truly personal attacks. And I mean truly personal.

    Carla, Bobby, Bethany and I were pretty good about talking folks down when it got too heated. Most people caught on pretty quickly and we prided ourselves on truly being open and honest, respectful. I always expected more from the prolifers (which didn’t always sit well with them) because it was our site and the prochoicers were guests in our home. If a fight broke out, I put the onus of guilt on prolifers. But I also reminded many a prochoicer that they were guests in Jill’s home and needed to act accordingly.

    You also had to take each new guest one at a time. There is no set formula. Find out what makes them tick and meet them where they live, so to speak.

    There really is no way to “make” it work. Eventually it just gets too big. I eventually left Jills. While I miss a lot of the people there, I am not sorry I called it quits when I did.

    Above all, honesty is important. Treating others the way you want to be treated. Not faking friendship. Really aiming for it. If you don’t care, then don’t pretend that you do. I can honestly say that I loved a lot of the people on Jill’s. In spite of and because of who they were.

    So if it’s a constitution you want, I’d say, make it short. Don’t get hung up on the rules. It only makes people defensive. A few good rules is all you need. The rest is up to the moderators. And the commenters.

    Hope this helped.

  8. skeptimal
    February 17th, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

    Nile said: “I’m an adult and I need no favor from any blogger to accept my comments on condition.”

    Preach, Sister. (That’s southern U.S. Evangelical for “you go girl!”)

  9. Margaret Catherine
    February 17th, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

    My ‘still-at-work,-can’t-talk-long’ two cents:

    So far, RT, you’ve run this blog on a deistic model – no direct interventions, no comments of your own; you just put the posts up and let us determine what happens next. And it’s worked pretty well: we’ve kept each other honest and, mostly, within certain boundaries. It has its rough moments but on the whole, it’s been better as a wholly open/unmoderated forum.

    And I’m being nudged to go Back To Work. Finis.

  10. Pikemann Urge
    February 18th, 2009 @ 2:29 am

    I’m with MC #9. Keep it as it is unless something obviously needs changing.

  11. frustrated(mk)
    February 18th, 2009 @ 6:36 am

    Pike and MC,

    Agreed. If you MUST have rules, keep them simple. But I wouldn’t put any up until it becomes really necessary. If you get 20 new people on that are just hell bent on stirring up trouble you might need a couple of guidelines, but for the most part, adults can police themselves.

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