The God Delusion - Chapter 1

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The God Delusion - Chapter 1

Post #1

Post by otseng »

I'll kick off the debate on chapter 1 with a few questions. Feel free to add more questions for us to debate.

What does Dawkins mean by "deserved respect"?
Does religion really have "undeserved respect"?

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Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 1

Post #51

Post by Confused »

achilles12604 wrote:
Confused wrote:
achilles12604 wrote:
otseng wrote:I'll kick off the debate on chapter 1 with a few questions. Feel free to add more questions for us to debate.

What does Dawkins mean by "deserved respect"?
Does religion really have "undeserved respect"?
I believe that the undeserved respect Dawkins refers to is the tendency for people to simply leave anything associated with religion alone, regardless of merit, worth or even ethics.
To some extent I agree with Dawkins here. Religion is a very protected entity. Occasionally it is so protected that it goes overboard. On the other hand, I do not feel that it is ALWAYS overprotected. In some cases it is flat out attacked (like what occurs on occasion with the ACLU). It has certainly been shut down recently like with the creation lawsuits in Penn.

Regarding these circumstances, Dawkins is incorrect that religion is given undeserved respect.

In my opinion, religion (in the USA) is protected to a good degree. Not to much, not to little on average. Of course there are instances which overstep "normal" boundaries, but on average, I'd say the defense of religious values is well balanced with reasonable acceptance of opposing views.

Deserved respect I believe refers to aspects of society which have been tested. Science for example is able to be tested. Since Dawkins is a scientist, it doesn't surprise me that he would try and compare science and religion despite the fact that religion can never be tested in the same manner as science and is therefore set up for failure when given the "Dawkins Deserving Test".
I think I have to disagree here, sorry. In terms of undeserved respect: I agree in what it means, however, I do think it is overused. I think the court case with the childs t-shirt he wore to school is a good example. Had one worn a t-shirt that said blacks should be slaves, would the courts decision be the same? These may be seen as rare examples, but they are extreme enough to warrant a tipping balance towards underserved respect. The lawsuit in Penn wasn't cut off because of religious aspects, it was cut off because it was trying to use ID as an alternative to evolutionary theory, ie. a scientific theory. The problem is that ID isn't a scientific theory. So this doesn't give an opposing example that would negate the claim made by Dawkins.
Taking the case of the t-shirt, I do not see what was really wrong with it.

It was expressing his opinion. No where does it say that we should persecute attack or anything else because those people are sinning. It simply says they are sinning or wrong.

Even Dakwins points out that the shirt would have been defendable based on freedom of speech. The fact it was defended based on a different clause brings me to ask "so what?". It was defendable under both, so why make a big deal about which path of defense was taken? All it indicates is that freedom of religion coincides with freedom of speech under these circumstances.

Is there a problem with freedom of religion and freedom of speech resulting in the same decision?

How is this evidence that religion is given undeserved respect? If anything THIS example should show that the religious defense had DESERVED respect since it agreed with a decision which didn't use religion at all.
Actually, in the case of the T-shirt, the supreme court wouldn't have ruled in favor of the childs parents had it been on the basis of freedom of speech. That is why the organization didn't base its suit on it. Instead, it was on the merit of freedom of religion. That is why they won the case.

Regardless, I have a serious issue with a 12 year old child wearing it to school. I am finding it very common for people to say that it isn't wrong to be offensive. But they are basing it on adults, not children. A 12 year old who may have been adopted by homosexual parents shouldn't have to deal with such crap in school. That to me is flat out wrong. Period.

The decision wasn't based on religion????? Wrong. Read again. On page 23 "
The parents might have had a conscionable case had they based it on the first amendments guarantee of the freedom of speech. But the didn't, indeed, the couldn't, because free speech is not deemed to include 'hate speech'. But hate only has to prove it is religious, and it no longer counts as hate. So instead of freedom of speech, the Nixons' lawyers appealed to the constitutional right to freedom of religion. Their victorious lawsuit was supported by the Alliance Defense Fund of Arizona, whose business it is to 'press the legal battle for religous freedom".
Religion won that: and it was undeserved.
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Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 1

Post #52

Post by achilles12604 »

Everyone please read this entire post in detail. I know it is long but I fully researched the actual cases and what I found is very interesting. Especially the last part.


Confused wrote:
achilles12604 wrote:
Confused wrote:
achilles12604 wrote:
otseng wrote:I'll kick off the debate on chapter 1 with a few questions. Feel free to add more questions for us to debate.

What does Dawkins mean by "deserved respect"?
Does religion really have "undeserved respect"?
I believe that the undeserved respect Dawkins refers to is the tendency for people to simply leave anything associated with religion alone, regardless of merit, worth or even ethics.
To some extent I agree with Dawkins here. Religion is a very protected entity. Occasionally it is so protected that it goes overboard. On the other hand, I do not feel that it is ALWAYS overprotected. In some cases it is flat out attacked (like what occurs on occasion with the ACLU). It has certainly been shut down recently like with the creation lawsuits in Penn.

Regarding these circumstances, Dawkins is incorrect that religion is given undeserved respect.

In my opinion, religion (in the USA) is protected to a good degree. Not to much, not to little on average. Of course there are instances which overstep "normal" boundaries, but on average, I'd say the defense of religious values is well balanced with reasonable acceptance of opposing views.

Deserved respect I believe refers to aspects of society which have been tested. Science for example is able to be tested. Since Dawkins is a scientist, it doesn't surprise me that he would try and compare science and religion despite the fact that religion can never be tested in the same manner as science and is therefore set up for failure when given the "Dawkins Deserving Test".
I think I have to disagree here, sorry. In terms of undeserved respect: I agree in what it means, however, I do think it is overused. I think the court case with the childs t-shirt he wore to school is a good example. Had one worn a t-shirt that said blacks should be slaves, would the courts decision be the same? These may be seen as rare examples, but they are extreme enough to warrant a tipping balance towards underserved respect. The lawsuit in Penn wasn't cut off because of religious aspects, it was cut off because it was trying to use ID as an alternative to evolutionary theory, ie. a scientific theory. The problem is that ID isn't a scientific theory. So this doesn't give an opposing example that would negate the claim made by Dawkins.


Taking the case of the t-shirt, I do not see what was really wrong with it.

It was expressing his opinion. No where does it say that we should persecute attack or anything else because those people are sinning. It simply says they are sinning or wrong.

Even Dakwins points out that the shirt would have been defendable based on freedom of speech. The fact it was defended based on a different clause brings me to ask "so what?". It was defendable under both, so why make a big deal about which path of defense was taken? All it indicates is that freedom of religion coincides with freedom of speech under these circumstances.

Is there a problem with freedom of religion and freedom of speech resulting in the same decision?

How is this evidence that religion is given undeserved respect? If anything THIS example should show that the religious defense had DESERVED respect since it agreed with a decision which didn't use religion at all.
Actually, in the case of the T-shirt, the supreme court wouldn't have ruled in favor of the childs parents had it been on the basis of freedom of speech. That is why the organization didn't base its suit on it. Instead, it was on the merit of freedom of religion. That is why they won the case.

Regardless, I have a serious issue with a 12 year old child wearing it to school. I am finding it very common for people to say that it isn't wrong to be offensive. But they are basing it on adults, not children. A 12 year old who may have been adopted by homosexual parents shouldn't have to deal with such crap in school. That to me is flat out wrong. Period.

The decision wasn't based on religion????? Wrong. Read again. On page 23 "
The parents might have had a conscionable case had they based it on the first amendments guarantee of the freedom of speech. But the didn't, indeed, the couldn't, because free speech is not deemed to include 'hate speech'. But hate only has to prove it is religious, and it no longer counts as hate. So instead of freedom of speech, the Nixons' lawyers appealed to the constitutional right to freedom of religion. Their victorious lawsuit was supported by the Alliance Defense Fund of Arizona, whose business it is to 'press the legal battle for religous freedom".
Religion won that: and it was undeserved.
I just found something interesting. I am totally unable to find any mention of James Nixon in the LA times during the 10th or 11th of April 2006.



I was able to find the general topic however.

Here is one of the cases that was actually mentioned.

http://www.jewsonfirst.org/06c/gr090.html
It might not be encouraged, but it is now officially OK to malign someone in a Georgia Tech dorm. And verbal assaults and derogatory signs? They're allowed, too.

In response to an ongoing lawsuit filed by two conservative student leaders, Georgia Tech this week agreed to change portions of a speech policy for students living in on-campus housing that lawyers have alleged is vague and unconstitutional.
David French, a lawyer for the Christian-based Alliance Defense Fund representing the students who brought the suit, called the court order a "win for free speech."

"Tech students now won't have to enter a zone of censorship when they walk on campus," he said. "They now have the same rights as every Georgian."
National Christian groups have taken up the cause of challenging "politically correct" tolerance policies at several schools.

And suits, like the one at Georgia Tech, have been filed across the country by nonprofit defense funds like the Alliance Defense Fund, which represents the Tech students.

Penn State University recently agreed to revoke its speech code after a similar lawsuit.
In addition to calling for the repeal of the housing speech code, the suit challenges the fact that Tech, like many public institutions, won't fund political or religious activities through student activities fees.

The suit also says Tech has wrongfully allowed a gay group on campus, "Safe Space," to talk about different religions' views on homosexuality.

The voluntary program trains college staff and students on issues relating to gay and lesbian students and provides a manual for counseling students, which describes different religions' take on the morality of homosexuality.
http://www.jewsonfirst.org/06c/gr090.html



Now for the record I am not for MANY cases brought before courts. The ACLU in particular seems to make a habit of defending criminals from everything. However, for the sake of THIS debate only, I would like to point out that this lawsuit addresses free speech, not freedom of religion, as Dawkins says it does.

Free speech.

First amendment.

I think free speech goes to far sometimes, however, this suit was brought under the secular amendment of freedom of speech, not freedom of religion.



Here is the reason that the suit was filed.
As Stephen Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Association Center for Law and Policy, frames their position, "The message is, you're free to worship as you like, but don't you dare talk about it outside the four walls of your church."
http://www.plastic.com/comments.html;si ... 050;cid=44

As you can plainly see, this suit was brought about because the students were not allowed to say that homosexuality was wrong. This of course is a direct violation of free speech, because simply saying someone is sinning, does not constitute "hate speech".

This was again, exactly what the shirt said. It only said that it was a sin. It did not promote violence against anyone.


Here is a few more details about the circumstances bringing on the suit.
In response to a lawsuit brought by two of its students, Ruth Malhotra and Orit Sklar, Georgia Tech agreed in August to the terms of a court order mandating that they revise a speech code which administrators had repeatedly invoked to censor conservative activism on campus. Malhotra is the president of Georgia Tech Students for Academic Freedom and both she and Sklar are officers of the Georgia Tech College Republicans. During her sophomore year at Tech in 2004, Malhotra testified before the Georgia State Senate about facing discrimination and abuse in the classroom for her conservative political views and the need for an Academic Bill of Rights. David French, Director of the Center for Academic Freedom at the Alliance Defense Fund, is serving as lead counsel for Malhotra and Sklar, the plaintiffs in the case. The lawsuit contains two additional charges which have yet to go before a judge. -- Sara Dogan, Students for Academic Freedom.
Topping the list is a recent event held by Georgia Tech's African American Student Union (AASU). Organizers of the event, called a "Free Speech Forum," invited me and my colleague (and co-plaintiff in our successful challenge to Tech's speech codes), Ruth Malhotra, to participate. Even though AASU is classified as a "cultural" group, they often conduct politically leftist activities and have been hostile towards the College Republicans and other conservative organizations in the past. Ruth and I agreed to participate in this forum on freedom of speech because we believed that they were genuinely interested in hearing our perspective. But then came warnings prior to the event suggesting that we were walking into a minefield: an inflammatory advertisement of the panel, sudden changes to the panel members and number of panelists, and most disturbingly, their last-minute refusal to allow me to sit on the panel.

Most of the panelists chose not to address the central issues or discuss the merits of the speech policy, but rather brought up topics which were irrelevant at best and inaccurate at worst. Among the many historical "facts" advanced by participants were the notions that "white slave-owners wrote the Constitution, therefore it is inherently flawed," and "racists enacted the first amendment, so minorities need more restrictions on speech."
Orit T. Sklar is a senior at the Georgia Institute of Technology, majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is President of the Georgia Tech Jewish Student Union – Hillel, Executive Board Member of the Georgia Tech College Republicans, and co-plaintiff in a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging Georgia Tech’s unconstitutional policies.

I am forced to disagree with both Dawkins, and Confused. These cases were brought upon the premise of free speech and WON based on those premises.


Therefore, my original point, that Dawkins was incorrect to claim that religion is given undeserved respect based on these court cases, still stands. My reason for this assertion is that the cases were won on the standards of a secular amendment "freedom of speech" rather than freedom of religion as Dawkins claims. At best, Dawkins misrepresented the situation in this chapter. At worst, he is deliberately falsifying the data to suit his ends.


UPDATE:

I was able to find the case Dawkins presents here.

http://www.nsba.org/site/doc_cosa.asp?T ... &DID=36777
An Ohio federal district court has ruled that school officials violated a student's free speech rights when they prohibited him from wearing a T-shirt that expressed his religious views on sensitive social issues, such as abortion and homosexuality.
The parents sued, alleging that the school officials violated James' First Amendment right to free speech. School officials, relying on Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986), argued they were justified in restricting James' speech because the messages on the shirt constituted "plainly offensive speech." The district court disagreed, concluding that while Fraser would be applicable if the T-shirt contained "symbols and words that promote values… patently contrary to the school's education mission," the ruling does not apply to speech that merely "contains a potentially offensive political viewpoint." As a result, the court found that the district's decision must be analyzed under principles set forth in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969), which requires school officials to demonstrate: (1) that the student speech caused a material disruption of school activities; or (2) that there is a reasonable likelihood of the speech causing a disruption; or (3) that the speech has invaded on the rights of others. Citing the lack of evidence that any disruption occurred or was likely to occur as a result of the T-shirt, the court concluded that the school officials' actions "appear to have been based upon an urgent wish to avoid controversy which might result" from the shirt's message, which would not justify regulating a student's political viewpoint under Tinker. The court likewise concluded that the evidence failed to support school officials' contention that James' T-shirt invaded the rights of others: "James' silent, passive expression of opinion" neither "interfered with the work of [SMS]" nor "collided with the rights of other students to be let alone."


Ok I am officially saying it.

If Dawkins was alleging that this case was won under "freedom of religion" because freedom of speech wouldn't work, then he was flat wrong. FLAT WRONG. Totally 100%, without reservation, flat wrong. And the fact that he pushed this forward as EVIDENCE, leads me to repeat what I wrote earlier.

Achilles12604 wrote:

So by deduction, it is easy to conclude that Dawkins has begun to paint a very negatively slanted picture of religion which, although entirely expected and almost required, should certainly be considered for the remainder of this book. Careful examination of his "evidence" and the counter arguments should be made and simple acceptance of his view should not be granted, IMO.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Post #53

Post by Confused »

I think you have the wrong case: Here is yours: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/project ... ethel.html

Just the essentials of the case:

BETHEL SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 403 ET AL. v. FRASER, A MINOR, ET AL.
No. 84-1667
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
478 U.S. 675
July 7, 1986, Decided

BURGER, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, POWELL, REHNQUIST, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. BLACKMUN, J., concurred in the result. MARSHALL, J., and STEVENS, J., filed dissenting opinions.

CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.

We granted certiorari to decide whether the First Amendment prevents a school district from disciplining a high school student for giving a lewd speech at a school assembly.

I

A

On April 26, 1983, respondent Matthew N. Fraser, a student at Bethel High School in Pierce County, Washington, delivered a speech nominating a fellow student for student elective office. Approximately 600 high school students, many of whom were 14-year-olds, attended the assembly. Students were required to attend the assembly or to report to the study hall. The assembly was part of a school-sponsored educational program in self-government. Students who elected not to attend the assembly were required to report to study hall. During the entire speech, Fraser referred to his candidate in terms of an elaborate, graphic, and explicit sexual metaphor.

Two of Fraser's teachers, with whom he discussed the contents of his speech in advance, informed him that the speech was "inappropriate and that he probably should not deliver it," and that his delivery of the speech might have "severe consequences."

During Fraser's delivery of the speech, a school counselor observed the reaction of students to the speech. Some students hooted and yelled; some by gestures graphically simulated the sexual activities pointedly alluded to in respondent's speech. Other students appeared to be bewildered and embarrassed by the speech. One teacher reported that on the day following the speech, she found it necessary to forgo a portion of the scheduled class lesson in order to discuss the speech with the class.

A Bethel High School disciplinary rule prohibiting the use of obscene language in the school provides:

"Conduct which materially and substantially interferes with the educational process is prohibited, including the use of obscene, profane language or gestures."
The morning after the assembly, the Assistant Principal called Fraser into her office and notified him that the school considered his speech to have been a violation of this rule. Fraser was presented with copies of five letters submitted by teachers, describing his conduct at the assembly; he was given a chance to explain his conduct, and he admitted to having given the speech described and that he deliberately used sexual innuendo in the speech. Fraser was then informed that he would be suspended for three days, and that his name would be removed from the list of candidates for graduation speaker at the school's commencement exercises.
This would be about a speech a child wanted to give, not at t-shirt. Review your evidence.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

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Post #54

Post by achilles12604 »

Confused wrote:I think you have the wrong case: Here is yours: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/project ... ethel.html

Just the essentials of the case:

BETHEL SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 403 ET AL. v. FRASER, A MINOR, ET AL.
No. 84-1667
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
478 U.S. 675
July 7, 1986, Decided

BURGER, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, POWELL, REHNQUIST, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. BLACKMUN, J., concurred in the result. MARSHALL, J., and STEVENS, J., filed dissenting opinions.

CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.

We granted certiorari to decide whether the First Amendment prevents a school district from disciplining a high school student for giving a lewd speech at a school assembly.

I

A

On April 26, 1983, respondent Matthew N. Fraser, a student at Bethel High School in Pierce County, Washington, delivered a speech nominating a fellow student for student elective office. Approximately 600 high school students, many of whom were 14-year-olds, attended the assembly. Students were required to attend the assembly or to report to the study hall. The assembly was part of a school-sponsored educational program in self-government. Students who elected not to attend the assembly were required to report to study hall. During the entire speech, Fraser referred to his candidate in terms of an elaborate, graphic, and explicit sexual metaphor.

Two of Fraser's teachers, with whom he discussed the contents of his speech in advance, informed him that the speech was "inappropriate and that he probably should not deliver it," and that his delivery of the speech might have "severe consequences."

During Fraser's delivery of the speech, a school counselor observed the reaction of students to the speech. Some students hooted and yelled; some by gestures graphically simulated the sexual activities pointedly alluded to in respondent's speech. Other students appeared to be bewildered and embarrassed by the speech. One teacher reported that on the day following the speech, she found it necessary to forgo a portion of the scheduled class lesson in order to discuss the speech with the class.

A Bethel High School disciplinary rule prohibiting the use of obscene language in the school provides:

"Conduct which materially and substantially interferes with the educational process is prohibited, including the use of obscene, profane language or gestures."
The morning after the assembly, the Assistant Principal called Fraser into her office and notified him that the school considered his speech to have been a violation of this rule. Fraser was presented with copies of five letters submitted by teachers, describing his conduct at the assembly; he was given a chance to explain his conduct, and he admitted to having given the speech described and that he deliberately used sexual innuendo in the speech. Fraser was then informed that he would be suspended for three days, and that his name would be removed from the list of candidates for graduation speaker at the school's commencement exercises.
This would be about a speech a child wanted to give, not at t-shirt. Review your evidence.
When did I cite this case?


I just re-read my entire post and it isn't there. I gave links. Not one of them addresses the case you have given here.


I acquired my cases from the Dawkins book and the LA times article Dawkins cited.


I have the right cases, and the right links. look again.




http://www.jewsonfirst.org/06c/gr090.html - This case was mentioned in the LA Times article that Dawkins cited as evidence for his position.

http://www.plastic.com/comments.html;si ... 050;cid=44 - This is the same case as above, again cited by the article in the LA times, used by Dawkins.

http://www.nsba.org/site/doc_cosa.asp?T ... &DID=36777 - This was the actual court case involving the T-shirt as Dawkins described.



http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/project ... ethel.html - THIS ONE I DID NOT PRESENT AT ALL in my above post. I have no idea where you got it, but it wasn't from me.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Post #55

Post by Confused »

Read the whole thing:

http://www.telladf.org/UserDocs/NixonOpinion.pdf

I stand corrected. He did argue for his first amendment right. The school failed to prove the criteria required as set forth by the case I mentioned above.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

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Post #56

Post by achilles12604 »

Confused wrote:Read the whole thing:

http://www.telladf.org/UserDocs/NixonOpinion.pdf

I stand corrected. He did argue for his first amendment right. The school failed to prove the criteria required as set forth by the case I mentioned above.
No prob. Thats what I'm here for. :eyebrow:

Like I said, we should not take Dawkins words as fact per se. There is an old military expression :

Trust . . . but verify.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Post #57

Post by jjg »

Which chapter deals with the evils of Christianity like Hitler being a "lapsed Catholic."

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Post #58

Post by Confused »

I don't think my last post was really reflecting what I meant for it to. Overtired is a curse. Let me try again:

My apologies to Achilles. I got the cases mixed while evaluating the links you provided with the Tinker case being used as a standard for the Nixon trial. I commend you on your research. After much searching, I found the actual case documents and found that you were completely right. There was no grounds for what Dawkins had listed. His argument has no basis in the context he has given it.

I will add, however. That despite the ruling, I don't agree with it. Whether it is on the grounds of free speech or whatever, I don't think that shirt is appropriate for a school. But after reviewing the Tinker case as well as the other cases listed in the trial transcripts, I don't agree with the ruling of them either. Though many of the case laws listed didn't even address religion, the findings and rulings of the courts to allow some t-shirts with messages that I find to be morally and ethically reprehensible to be worn in public elementary and high schools were wrong. I think as a parent, the Nixon parents weren't considering the effects that such a shirt might have on children of Islamic parents, homosexual parents, etc... If this is the message that they wish to send, then I have to say that I wouldn't want my children around theirs.

However, praise is definitely warranted in the diligence of Achilles to uncover this lie.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

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