Anti-swearing law

Anne Gilbert avgilbert at PRODIGY.NET
Mon Feb 21 19:31:39 UTC 2000

----- Original Message -----
From: <RonButters at AOL.COM>
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2000 9:38 AM
Subject: Re: Anti-swearing law


> It seems to me that the question that <dsawczak> asks severely
> the sociolinguistics of Anne's answer. I think that we all agree that most
> the people who strongly advocate the posting of "the ten commandments"
> a common core of religious beliefs. I agree that Anne's characterization
> those beliefs as "very narrow" may seem like invidious "stereotyping," but
> don't think the purpose of her comments was to put people down, but rather
> attempt to explain why only certain translations would satisfy the very
> people who are advocates of the posting.

You are correct and Debbie was out of line.  I was *not* trying to "put
anybody down".  I was simply trying to illustrate a certain reality.

 As far as I can see, her
> sociolinguistic observation is surely correct: wouldn't posting even of a
> Catholic Bible translation be difficult for people to accept whose very
> of the word "Christian" excludes Catholics, Mormons, and, indeed (for
> those whose specific religious beliefs disagree with theirs? For me,
> <dsawczak>'s "you can still easily recognize all the commandments [in all
> translations]" may well ignore some really significant doctrinal decisions
> that a translator must make (e.g., compare "Thou shall not kill" with "Do
> commit murder"--the former seeming to possibly forbid capital punishment,
> latter not). But even if there were no significant semantic differences,
> political issues are significant, e.g., the King James version might seem
> many Jews to be particularly exclusionary.

And, as I didn't want to "put any group down", I didn't want to get too

> As for <dsawczak>'s question itself, it does illustrate the role of
> in language. Anne certainly does not say that "the poor secular majority
> being oppressed by a handful of religious people" (that sarcastic "poor"
> very telling). I am not a religious person myself, and I think of myself
> an old-fashioned liberal in most ways, but I don't for a moment believe
> anything so simplistic. I do believe that the influence of "religion" in
> government can be oppressive (e.g., in the preservation of sodomy laws),
> this is just a manifestation of a much larger tendency of
> or not--to attempt to project their own beliefs into the public sphere.

No, I don't believe that the "poor secular majority" is being oppressed by a
"handful of religious people", either.  My comment related to the
motivations of *some* people who like to do things like put the Ten
Commandments up on the walls of public places.  These folks are projecting
*their* religious beliefs onto a very large majority of secular(and
religious) people in this country.
> I thank <dsawczak> for reminding us that we need to be careful not to seem
> exclusionary in our postings. There are many people of faith who are
> readers and writers, and the faiths are various and sundry. One thing that
> might all agree on (excuse the translation if it is not the one that you
> prefer) is that a gentle answer turneth away scorn.

It most certainly does, and you are right on target.  The purpose of my
response was simply to enlighten certain dark corners, not to slander any
religious group or people of faith, whose faiths(including, perhaps
Debbie's) I would rush to defend, if necessary.

Anne Gilbert

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