Re: Market Basket

1

Mandatory reading on the subject:
Part 1 and Part 2.

A point I haven't seen discussed much is that the recent CEO's generosity towards employees and customers is likely a means of keeping money away from the other branch of the family. Which doesn't make it less good for them, but is more ethically questionable. If Arthur T gained complete control after buying out Arthur S's side, I would not be surprised if the generosity decreased.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 7:53 AM
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Is executive pay the issue, or shareholder return? (Haven't read the links, but I would assume the latter.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:00 AM
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Via some us us here, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:06 AM
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Nathan at 1 is right, the real problem here is lack of worker power - the answer isn't to fight over the scraps of largesse benevolently and capriciously tossed down from on high, but retractable st any moment. Sure, if that's the best on offer go for it, but let's not accept that as the best or even really acceptable.

Better news here: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/07/craft-beer-revival

"ile Big Beer attempts to solve its problems with crafty marketing and yet more giantism, US craft brewers are trying out innovative business models. Big-name craft brewers Full Sail (Oregon), New Belgium (Colorado), and Harpoon (Boston) are all fully employee-owned. Here in Austin, Black Star Brewery and Pub is cooperatively owned by 3,000 community members and managed by a "workers assembly" as a "democratic self-managed workplace." It may sound like it should be a cluster, but the place is always packed, the service is brisk, the food is good, and the beer is excellent. And the employees proudly refuse tips, citing their living wage as the reason. Meanwhile, a forthcoming worker-owned project, 4thTap Brewing Co-op, is creating excitement among Austin beer nerds with its promise to "bring radical brewing to the forefront of the Texas craft beer scene.""

Unions ultimately are critical to sustainable, functional democracy in a capitalist economy. But in our current cultural / political moment the are antithetical to the libertarian moment (revolting to me, but have to work with the cultural moment you have and effect change from there). But I could see worker ownership appealing to the aging hipsterdom on a scale we haven't seen since the 70's.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:17 AM
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was me, phone doesn't know me once again, we have a troubled relationship.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:20 AM
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"Market Basket" and "Michael Robbins" are not very distinct on quick look at the sidebar.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:30 AM
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As a side note to part of 4, Harpoon is employee-owned as of only three weeks ago. I hope it works for them, but they shouldn't be held up yet as a model of how that can work.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:36 AM
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Actually, no. The announcement was three weeks ago. Employee ownership kicks in tomorrow (August 1).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:40 AM
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But I could see worker ownership appealing to the aging hipsterdom on a scale we haven't seen since the 70's.

Completely agree. I would write a longer piece on this issue if I were the sort of person who wrote longer pieces. This is the most realistic progressive replacement for waning union power. The progressive community needs to coalesce around this point and begin pushing it forcefully. Most of the stories are about startups that have been organized this way from day 1. But it can also be implemented at existing corporations. One of its biggest selling points: setting up an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP)* is a GIANT tax avoidance scheme for current owners who want to sell. If structured correctly they can sell the business at current market value and pay NO tax on the gains in the sale (technically they defer the tax indefinitely, which usually amount to the same thing). Obviously, that's distasteful, but the idea is that it's a pill worth swallowing to promote employee ownership of companies.

* This is the mechanism by which the current owners sell the company to its employees (they technically sell to the ESOP, which is legally a trust set up to hold the stock and then dole it out to employees over time in accordance with the terms of the trust).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:45 AM
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5: I was meaning to ask how it is that you ended up with that particular phone.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:46 AM
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I agree with 4/9, but the problem with relying simply on buyouts is that the rich have all the money, as Piketty has reminded us.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:58 AM
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6: Suddenly I'm hungry for Boston Market and Baskin Robbins.

What a horrible thing to happen, though. Would it be possible to write into a corporate charter a guarantee of profit sharing?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:58 AM
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11: an ESOP buyout doesn't require employees to put up money. The ESOP is a trust that buys out the current owners. The ESOP borrows the money from a bank. They're usually able to get attractive financing because of various tax advantages in the ESOP structure. The loan is paid back over time (20+ years) out of the cash flows of the business.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 9:06 AM
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10: because of the camera. All the issues are strictly user error, I'm sure. Not interested enough to figure out how the thing works or remember once I do figure anything out.

My personal experience with worker ownership is at a much smaller scale but certainly profitable. Wide adoption of worker ownership is the only path I can see towards broad based support for unions in non-worker owned sectors.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 9:10 AM
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12.2: wherever any such commitment is made, unless the workers have the power to enforce it is worthless.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 9:11 AM
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Have the new cooperatives worked out ways to avoid the dysfunction sometimes seen in the old generation of cooperatives? My understanding is it can fall into the most uselessly argumentative and point-scoring people disproportionately attending meetings, so micromanagement, entitlement, etc.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 9:17 AM
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I wonder if Market Basket's "profit-sharing" is actual automatic contractual sharing of profits, or just what the IRS calls a Profit Sharing Plan, an older type of pension plan that the management just deposits into discretionarily (like the Christmas bonus). From the mention in the second link in 1, I suspect the latter.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 9:20 AM
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18: the magic elixir to conquer human nature has not yet been discovered, no, but then it isn't called "the market" either and we seem to be perhaps a wee bit further along the road to wider acceptance of that aper├žu.

Human dysfunction not a proprietary issue of worker owned businesses. Bad management (including self management) afflicts all of us, see our present economic wreckage.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 9:29 AM
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I don't know that Arthur S. will be able to sell it. Wegman's is coming in to Burlington, and I think that Market Basket has lost a lot of goodwill so that people won't shop there as much if it doesn't go back to Arthur T.

I hadn't heard that about the profit-sharing being about screwing over the other side of the family, but it's believable.

It's also the case that the senior management is very loyal--some have worked there for 40 years. They know the business well and appear to be really efficient. They have something like 125 employees at headquarters. Most 72-store chains have 500 or more.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 9:46 AM
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Executive pay is the only beast America's brand of the free market is designed to feed in 2014.

How is this even slightly about executive pay? The CEO was fired!


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 10:38 AM
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I believe a lot of (almost all of?) management has been promoted internally, as well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 10:53 AM
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It is a little baffling that this is hitting the national news as a labor struggle. It's much stranger than that, more of a "customers + labor + management + half the board" vs. "the other half of the board and a small majority of the shareholders".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 10:55 AM
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It works if you think of the management as just more labor.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 11:03 AM
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Which is pretty much true in most "hostile takeover" scenarios: the interests of most of the people on the interior of the company (perhaps earning above-market salaries+benefits+job security) vs the interests of owners (getting maximum shareholder returns).

Often shareholders successfully buy off management, or management buys off board members, but occasionally it breaks down and management is forced to align with its poorer but more natural ally, the rest of labor.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 11:07 AM
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22: Yeah, the first story I saw about it did an atrocious job of explaining what exactly was at issue. I still don't entirely understand it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 11:14 AM
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United Airlines post 1994 is an example of a failed ESOP. What is the largest company owned this way which is succesful?

On a positive note, Many beers are union made, including Sam Adams.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 11:33 AM
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United Airlines post 1994 is an example of a failed ESOP. What is the largest company owned this way which is successful?

Probably Publix, the Florida grocery store chain.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 11:35 AM
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||
Speaking of food (and Halford, this is particularly relevant to your interests), this place is right by my apartment. I'm tempted to try it but the presentation is really turning me off.

Also the owners are cranks.
|>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 11:40 AM
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29

That Chinese restaurant finally went out of business?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 12:41 PM
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25

This is really about a family rivalry between the Arthur T. and Arthur D. factions. The fact that the war itself has drawn in the employees and customers on Arthur T.'s side is not all that relevant. Rumor is that Arthur D. wants to sell the company, and Arthur T. doesn't.

19

As for the Burlington Wegman's, isn't Wegman's more expensive and upscale than Market Basket? The company that's been rumored to want to buy Market Basket owns mostly somewhat down-market grocery chains (Shaw's in NE, and Acme, for example), which as far as prices go, Market Basket fits into. I dunno about quality, having never shopped there. People I know who do mostly mention the low prices.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:05 PM
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31

Instead of spending insane sums on their "Head-to-Tail Braised Lamb / 12.25 - $31.25" why not just go to the halal market across the street from Local 123 and get a half or quarter of lamb and braise it yourself???


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:07 PM
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32

Wait, how many Arthurs are there?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:08 PM
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33

Any weekend now I'm going to do exactly what I propose in 31.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:11 PM
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31: that business model has failed repeatedly in that neighborhood, so there's hope!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:12 PM
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35

Some of their offerings do not seem to be the worst, but really. Go to the halal market.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:13 PM
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36

I consider this super weird.

Patricia Dunton, 67, from Totteridge, North London, said she had been shopping in Waitrose for more than 30 years. Speaking before the Waitrose announcement, she said: 'As a devout Christian, I won't buy Duchy Originals lamb ever again, and I won't buy lamb from Waitrose. I don't like the fact that an Islamic prayer has been said over it. It should have been labelled so that I know what I am buying.'

Dude, so what. Is this even a thing for Christians? I know that Christians are supposed to be free from having to follow kashrut but is there anything that says they have to affirmatively not eat kosher or halal meat?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:17 PM
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Of course not.

Someone here sent me a link to Josh's restaurant, which I guess Unfogged Robert Halford is duty-bound to support on a "I have no enemies in the Paleolithic movement" principle but real life Robert Halford would probably enjoy eating at but finds way way OTT.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:21 PM
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38

The Yemeni market at Larkin and Post or Sutter has great lamb.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:21 PM
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37.1: so how justified would one be in concluding that this woman is just dressing up racism in religiosity? Very justified?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:25 PM
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It sort of depends what she actually thinks happens to the lamb when someone says a prayer over it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:26 PM
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41

It dies.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:27 PM
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I mean, people say kosher meat tastes drier because of the blood draining. Maybe she thinks the praying dries the meat.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:29 PM
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43

It is super extremely racist! Listen, in the absolute single most important passage in the entire bible, and one that you bet your ass describes something actually real, God laid before Peter a blanket full of delicious meat, and said he could eat any or all of it. ALL OF THE MEAT CAN BE EATEN.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:30 PM
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It is super extremely racist! Listen, in the absolute single most important passage in the entire bible, and one that you bet your ass describes something actually real, God laid before Peter a blanket full of delicious meat, and said he could eat any or all of it. ALL OF THE MEAT CAN BE EATEN.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:30 PM
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36 -- no. If you're a Sikh I think it's technically an issue but I haven't heard of any Sikhs complaining although I don't exactly read the Sikh press.

The woman's an idiot though --- most NZ lamb (for instance) starts off halal, technically, and then loses halal status in transit.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:30 PM
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46

If that were true she would presumably have noticed the taste earlier.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:30 PM
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47

She knew something was off, but she couldn't put her finger on it. Now that she knows the flavor has been prayed away, she's rightfully pissed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:31 PM
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46 to 42, obviously, I suppose.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:31 PM
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49

I've been wondering the same thing about tomatoes for years.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:32 PM
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50

Also if she is really worried about the meat being halal she can surely just cook it in lard or whatever, right?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 4:32 PM
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51

The Exorcist's Cookbook


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 5:38 PM
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32

Ack. It's A. T. and A. S., A. D. was a brain misfunction.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 5:50 PM
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30: Wegman's has more expensive stuff like cheeses that are higher quality than Whole Foods, and other things are more there than Market Basket. BUT, for basic things, it's cheaper than Shaws by a LOT. It's probably cheaper than Stop & Shop too.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-31-14 8:26 PM
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most NZ lamb (for instance) starts off halal, technically, and then loses halal status in transit.

It is exported, chilled, in immense reefer ships, crewed by pigs.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 1:40 AM
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36: I would say this woman is being exactly as weird as people who only eat halal or kosher meat for religious reasons; she just looks weirder because there's only one of her and she's only just started doing it.

45: it is quite a thing for Sikhs, which is why (for example) the British Army has to supply separate halal and Sikh/Hindu ration packs, because the Sikhs can't be expected to eat halal meat. (It's quite easy to get menus that are OK for both Sikhs and Hindus, so they just do that, because it makes the logistics easier).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 1:45 AM
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I would say this woman is being exactly as weird as people who only eat halal or kosher meat for religious reasons; she just looks weirder because there's only one of her and she's only just started doing it.

Please explain in detail why you think these things are equivalent.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:00 AM
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She's refusing to eat perfectly OK food (it's healthy, it's lamb just like the packet says) because her religious beliefs demand it. There was an almost exactly parallel situation, IIRC, recently in the UK over meat being sold as halal which actually wasn't halal, and it upset a lot of people.
It was important to them, under their religious beliefs, that they could be sure the meat they ate was halal, even though - or especially though - it's impossible to tell from looking at meat or tasting it whether it's halal or not.
It's important to this woman, under her religious beliefs, that she can be sure the meat she eats isn't halal, even though ditto.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:08 AM
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58

Well, I'm no Christian, but my understanding of Christianity is that restrictions on what sorts of meat to eat are extremely contrary to the spirit of the faith (see Halford's 43).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:11 AM
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59

She doesn't have the benefit of tradition and community backing her up, either.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:18 AM
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60

Pretend I contributed something new there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:19 AM
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50: Right. (Sorry about the insomnia.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:21 AM
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I meant 59 there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:21 AM
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Although I do also agree with the implication of 50.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:24 AM
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64

It's ok, still on vacation. But thanks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:26 AM
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58: well, she's a rather unorthodox Christian then. But the Mormons and the Witnesses and the 7DAs are pretty unorthodox too.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:27 AM
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66

Oh yeah, vacation. These days I just work all the time, so I don't really take much time off.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:29 AM
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65: Sure, but somehow I suspect her interpretation isn't based on a deep study of the New Testament or any other type of scripture.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:30 AM
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68

Vacations are pleasant, even if you just take a day off here and there to putter around.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:34 AM
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I should keep that in mind. I checked today and I have three weeks of vacation saved up. I'm planning to take a week or so off in September to visit my mom, but I should probably take some more time off as well.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:49 AM
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67: maybe it's based on a deeply spiritual experience that isn't open to empirical proof or questioning. I hear that happens a lot.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 2:57 AM
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70: Well, that's for you Christians to sort out. The rest of us are not so concerned with that sort of thing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 3:07 AM
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72

We just follow the laws, or don't. Personally I mostly don't.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 3:09 AM
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73

This is really about a family rivalry between the Arthur T. and Arthur D. factions. The fact that the war itself has drawn in the employees and customers on Arthur T.'s side is not all that relevant. Rumor is that Arthur D. wants to sell the company, and Arthur T. doesn't.

The people ultimately calling the shots are not doing so on the basis of employee or customer wellbeing, sure. That doesn't mean that one side wouldn't be better for employees and customers than the other.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 3:37 AM
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Speaking of people on vacation, I'm going into my third weekend in a row of hosting guests. It's been great to show people around the city, but fuck, it's exhausting to play host. I'm looking forward to my own stay-cation once I get back to Virginia.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 3:48 AM
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Funnily enough given the mention of Waitrose above, the biggest successful employee owned company in the UK is the John Lewis Partnership, which owns Waitrose. The Co-operative Group is a bit larger, but is less successful, mainly because of its banking arm. It's also member owned rather than purely employee owned.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 4:24 AM
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57. As 43 points out, food restrictions are not any part of Christianity, unless you observe a strict Lenten fast, in which case you eat no meat for the duration. So if this woman'r religious beliefs include avoiding Halal food by reason of Islamophobia, that isn't Christian, but something she's made up.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 4:29 AM
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s 43 points out, food restrictions are not any part of Christianity, unless you observe a strict Lenten fast, in which case you eat no meat for the duration.

What about the whole no meat on Friday thing? Catholics certainly used to be big on that. Google tells me it is still part of canon law, though it can be substituted with some other penance.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 4:57 AM
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78

There's a subset of evangelical Christians who believe that eating halal meat is is equivalent to eating meat sacrificed to idols, as condemned in 1 Corinthians 28-29.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 5:15 AM
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Sure, and Orthodox and Coptic Christians have various fast days of their own. None of them are predicated on avoiding meat that have been prayed over, though. Maybe someone should teach Patricia Dunton, 67, how to give a cootie shot.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 5:16 AM
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food restrictions are not any part of Christianity, unless you observe a strict Lenten fast, in which case you eat no meat for the duration.

Mormons consider themselves Christians, but observe dietary restrictions (no caffeine, no alcohol). Lots of Christian denominations avoid alcohol. 7DAs avoid pork.
This woman's version of Christianity involves not eating halal meat and (see 78) she's not alone in that. (It's not even something that's restricted to Christians - Sikhs aren't allowed to eat halal meat either.) She's well within the existing range of religious practice. It's simply not true that "food restrictions are not any part of Christianity" unless you want to unilaterally decide that a whole lot of people who think of themselves as Christian, and are generally regarded as Christian, are somehow NOT DOING IT RIGHT.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 5:51 AM
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80 --- Ajay, I


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:03 AM
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I [heart] you, but there's no reason to refuse to eat meal which is halal, if you believe Jesus Christ Our Lord And Saviour died on the Cross. The only reason is racism, pure and simple.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:05 AM
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55: yes, and the provision of rations which meet subcontinental dietary laws is fundamental to the continued existence of the British Army [for obvious reasons, ahem].

But, at the same time, if the Archbishop of Canterbury [or the Pope] will eat the meal in front of you, I have limited sympathy for your Christian exceptionalism.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:15 AM
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To be fair, the panic in the UK among a minority of evangelicals about halal meat isn't really rooted in Christian tradition. It's a disgusted reaction to the possibility of contracting Islamic cooties, followed by a swift search for Bible verses that might possibly justify them in refusing to eat it. It was quite a widespread reaction at the time, and there were a lot of people who chose to justify themselves in terms of animal rights rather than religion.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:18 AM
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85

I suspect that the "this isn't real religion because it's just a reaction to irrational dislike of other religions" is not an argument that's going to turn out to be load-bearing.

Are there any religions which don't have customs explicitly justified as "this is the way we can mark ourselves out as being different from those awful gentiles/Jews/idolaters/polytheists/pagans"?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:33 AM
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85 is totally true. Still, refusing to eat halal meat produced by the Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales is a pretty bad sign, I think.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:43 AM
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87

Why not just generalize back to some other broad, missing-the-point level of generality to justify your preexisting defense of bigotry (here I'm talking about both yours and hers)? "She's not the real racist because the Muslims won't eat her meat." "She's not the real racist because it is known that human beings often have different, sometimes irrational, preferences about food, so who are we to judge her"? If you were a lawyer, you'd know that there are all kinds of other bad and sophistic arguments you could make.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:47 AM
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Well, it's dashed disrespectful to her betters for one thing.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:47 AM
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89

88 to 86.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:52 AM
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90

If you were a lawyer, you'd know that there are all kinds of other bad and sophistic arguments you could make.

So I see, mate. So I see.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:53 AM
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Ajay, as you note, part of the point of these restrictions is to belong to a community, so making up a religion-of-one rule is properly subject to more scrutiny than following the rules of an established religion, even if you think all religious practices are wacky.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 6:57 AM
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85 is totally true. Still, refusing to eat halal meat produced by the Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales...

And next in line as head of the Church of England.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:00 AM
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93

Ogged, you're missing the point. Religion is bad, and the British Army is good, and that is all you need to know.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:01 AM
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94

91: presumably it scales linearly with number of adherents and historical duration of the faith?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:03 AM
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95

Also it is neither a religion-of-one rule nor lacking scriptural justification.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:05 AM
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96

Of course 84 already explains 95, but why bother reading.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:06 AM
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97

Prince Charles already holds the office of Imam of the Church of England, since that post is shamefully not yet open to women.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:07 AM
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96: so now you (and commenter Ume) gets to define what's "really" Christian tradition?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:08 AM
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... I mean, you could at least cite some bible verse like they do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:09 AM
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||

CNN Anchor Lashes Out At Fox: 'You Willfully Ignorant F**ksticks'

Actually, I rather like the epithet "fucksticks."

|>


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:12 AM
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More so than people making up, for early bigoted reasons, one-off justifications that not only have no grounding at all in centuries of that tradition but are not agreed with by the relevant religious authorities, yes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:12 AM
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43 to 99.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:17 AM
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Sifu, John McEnroe would like a word.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:18 AM
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I had a client who eats only Glatt Kosher food (Kosherer than other Kosher foods). Fortunately, there's an app for that and I found a Glatt Kosher restaurant close to the Manhattan federal courthouse. It was a vegetarian Chinese establishment, and it had the official up to date Rabbi Glatt sticker in the window. But it also had a giant statue of Buddha. My client refused to eat in front of an idol to a false God, even though it was good enough for the exacting Glatt organization.

This was the same client who insisted that we do no work on the Sabbath and on the many holy days on his case. He also consulted with a Kaballah-derived list of lucky and unlucky days in the Hebrew calendar to choose appropriate days for filing briefs and such. Nonetheless, he lost the case.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:21 AM
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Let's just not get no-true-scotsman-y about believing, practicing, faithful christians who believe hateful, bigoted shit, you know?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:22 AM
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Is there a name for the inverse of the no true Scotsman argumentative error, ie the false claim that there is no meaningful or traditional content to the concept of "being Scottish" at all?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:27 AM
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102: fair.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:27 AM
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106: dunno. Has somebody done that someplace? Sounds neat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:27 AM
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We're not really close to going there. The question is, is this mainstream and if not, does it seem to be rooted in anything other than bigotry. I get that you want to say that all these practices are rooted in bigotry, but that ignores a lot of history, and the fact that there are many reasons besides bigotry to be part of a mainstream religion today.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:32 AM
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I get that you want to say that all these practices are rooted in bigotry

I don't! But using Christianity as a cudgel to promote intolerance has a whole hell of a lot of history behind it. Saying "oh, well, this specific way of using Christianity to promote intolerance is ahistorical" (which I'm not even sure it is; it reminds me a lot of the early clergy reaction to coffee) seems like it buys too much in terms of rejecting behavior that actually, historically, isn't that different from the way lots of Christians have behaved -- and have felt scripturally justified in behaving -- over many centuries.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:37 AM
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106/108: There is no meaningful content to Scottishness beyond crashing motorcycles at high speed during drug deliveries, then carefully distracting the police to save your mate.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:39 AM
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It's all been leading up to this. Can we get the Muslim to defend the Crusades? I see your game.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:41 AM
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The link in 78 is pretty bizarre. Especially because the author seems unaware that the exact same issue is discussed again in Romans 14. Anyway the usual interpretation here is that "weaker brother" refers to people exactly like the author in 78: other Christians who, unlike Paul, think that eating food sacrificed to idols is wrong. (As far as I know, Paul never uses "brother" the way that the link does, and the author provides no other examples of Paul using it that way.) What Paul is saying is that if you have some crazy Christian friend who won't eat Halal meat for no good reason, then for their sake you shouldn't eat Halal meat in front of them.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:44 AM
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112: at least they had an ethos!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:47 AM
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But, at any rate, whether or not you can eat meat sacrificed to idols was a huge debate in the earliest church, so you can't say it's not a position that has a bunch of history and tradition within the church.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:51 AM
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What I found really interesting about the whole affair was the sheer variety of reasons people gave to justify their intolerance: the ones I've seen range from "Halal slaughtering methods are inhumane," to "As an atheist I object to anyone saying prayers over my meat," "We're being denied the right to choose what we eat," "This means Muslims will take over the entire meat industry," and "I object to the way women are treated under Islam so won't eat halal food." Yes, a few crazy Christians did justify their bigotry in Biblical terms, but they were far from the only ones making up their own reasons on the fly.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:53 AM
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"As an atheist I object to anyone saying prayers over my meat,"

Then they were shitty atheists (not to bring that up again...no, definitely to bring that up again). People can say all the prayers they like, assuming I don't have to pay extra for them. (Conversely, if there's a discount for them, well prayer me up.) The thing that gives magic words real power is reacting to them as if they're powerful.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:58 AM
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NO TRUE ATHIEST!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 7:59 AM
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Wow, who would have guessed the Market Basket thread would turn into a second religious thread? I have to say the attitude in 36 doesn't seem surprising to me at all; my guess would have been that 20 or 30% of Christians would refuse to eat meat they knew an Islamic person had prayed over, partly out of racism but mostly out of deep distrust of anything not Christian and an actual belief that prayers have magical results in the real world.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:00 AM
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ajay has been correctly taken to task for his misstep in 55.1, but is otherwise kicking ass in this thread.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:02 AM
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118: They're athier at best, certainly not athiest.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:04 AM
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Ogged, you're missing the point. Religion is bad, and the British Army is good, and that is all you need to know.

I have now completely lost track of whether I am trolling Halford or he is trolling me.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:06 AM
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106: I think the problem you're struggling with is the question of who decides who is a proper Christian.

Your answer seems to be that you decide - and I wish you did! But alas, we have not achieved full Halfordismo.

Myth-making gets a bad rap in the reality-based community. What matters about a myth isn't whether it's true or not, but whether it promotes human decency.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:06 AM
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Wait, now this is the decency thread? If so, I want to talk about Bieber's monkey.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:08 AM
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117: couldn't you be an atheist and still believe in magic? Maybe you don't believe that Allah exists, but you still think that Muslim prayers have some supernatural effect on meat.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:10 AM
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I forget, is halal the one that uses the entire baby and kosher just the baby's blood, or is it the other way around?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:11 AM
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I think you're confusing it with kinky being "just using a feather" and perverse being "using the entire chicken".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:12 AM
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Or you could be an Urple-atheist and believe that it was morally incumbent on you to do whatever you could to stamp out religion, as by boycotting food with God-cooties on it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:12 AM
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Again, I don't think I need to make myself pope (though I'm available -- Banquet of the Chestnuts II) to say that the position actually at issue here, ie that eating halal meat is something expressly prohibited by Christianity -- is something for which there's basically no textual or traditional or institutional support and as to which there's a lot of support in the other direction, making this pretty clearly a one-off justification for preexisting bigotry.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:13 AM
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125 lead to my singing "do you believe in magic?" to myself, which led ineluctably to the follow-up "and I hope you do, you've always got a friend wearing big red shoes", which then led to the premise that an athiest is somebody who believes in the divinity of Ronald McDonald.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:13 AM
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Now I really want to introduce Halford to my parents' elderly neighbors so they can have a theological discussion.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:16 AM
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118 to 125. The commonly used meaning of atheist connotes a person who denies not only gods but all supernatural (note: I may be wrong, use the conclusions of that other thread), but I suppose that there could be a rather confused atheist who thinks that there's some sort of natural magic to Muslim prayer and we just haven't figured out yet how to turn in into technology and power our flying steampunk cars or whatever.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:16 AM
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Per urple, "athiest" means "somebody who takes their Shadowrun campaign far too seriously".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:17 AM
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Again, I don't think I need to make myself pope (though I'm available -- Banquet of the Chestnuts II)

Do you do weddings? Bring the hat.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:17 AM
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129 to 123, of course. Thanks to the turn in conversation I had a horror vision of "Halal is Magic," a racist fake Sarah Silverman-style YouTube video featuring Pam Gellar.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:20 AM
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130: "I reckon Ronald McDonald is like Jesus Christ."
Bigmac did that kind of thing. Sometimes he would come out with the kind of big, slow statement that suggested some sort of deep thinking had been going on for some time. It was like mountains. Johnny knew that they were made by continents banging together but no one ever saw it happening.
"Yes?" said Yo-less in a kind voice. "Why do you think that?"
"Well, look at all the advertising," said Bigmac, waving a fry in the general direction of the rest of the burger bar. "There's this happy land you can go to where there's lakes of banana milkshake and... trees covered in fries. And - and then there's the Hamburglar. He's like the Devil."
"Mr Zippy's advertised by a talking ice cream," said Wobbler.
"I don't like that," said Yo-less. "I wouldn't trust an ice cream that's trying to get you to eat ice cream."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:21 AM
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I think 129 is wrong... There's very good evidence that not eating meat sacrificed to idols was the position of the earliest Christians and in particular of the Jerusalem church. I don't think there's anything strange about someone being a Christian and not wanting to eat meat sacrificed to idols. However, it is a weird position for someone who's in a church of entirely people who are followers not just of Christ but of Paul as well.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:21 AM
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Myth-making gets a bad rap in the reality-based community. What matters about a myth isn't whether it's true or not, but whether it promotes human decency.

The myriad deities of the Empire were all regarded by the common man as equally true, by the philosopher as equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful.
-- Gibbon

The counterargument is that having the government think it's OK to tell people things that aren't true in order to get them to behave the way it thinks people ought to behave is very rarely, in the final analysis, a good thing.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:23 AM
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It is weird for a Christian to think that 1) Allah is an idol and 2) halal meat is sacrificed to him.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:24 AM
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138: Gibbon could really turn a phrase. (His sentences sometimes left a bit to be desired.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:25 AM
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It is weird for a Christian to think that 1) Allah is an idol

You think? I'd call it an unpleasant thing to think, and a far from universal thing to think even among Christians, but remember General Boykin:

Among several quotes, the article revealed Boykin giving a speech about hunting down Osman Atto in Mogadishu: "He went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, 'They'll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.' Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

Not that most Christians think that way, but I do think some do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:30 AM
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140: in the intro to my edition it mentioned that Warren Hastings was accused in the House (by Fox) of "atrocities unparalleled even in the careful chronicles of Tacitus or the luminous pages of Gibbon" and when Gibbon buttonholed Fox and said thanks very much for the plug, Fox said "oh, they misheard, I said voluminous".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:31 AM
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141: I was thinking about Boykin earlier. I bet he wouldn't be pleased to be served Halal meat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:33 AM
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141: yes, I was going to mention that; definitely a body of opinion that Allah isn't God (making Islam, essentially, a Christian heresy along the lines of Plotinianism, which is how the 7th century Orthodox church saw it initially) but an entirely false and made-up god, and/or that Mohammed was fooled by a demon pretending to be Gabriel, and/or that the Ka'aba counts as an idol.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:34 AM
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I would be interested in a poll of Christian-majority nations (I suppose calling them Christendom isn't accurate anymore) seeing what their opinions on Allah are as plotted against local distribution of Muslims.

I wasn't disputing the existence of such thoughts, nor that they're unpleasant, but that it's weirdly in conflict with what my understanding of doctrinaire Christianity is. Now that I consider myself the arbiter of Christianity, as I'm far too invested in my Shadowrun campaign. (half-elf/half-dragon/half-libertarian hacker, obvs)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:36 AM
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Now->Not. Also, 142 made me laugh.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:37 AM
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I wrote Plotinianism - I should of course have written Psilanthropism. Boy, is my face red.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:40 AM
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It's a good thing your extended family isn't reading -- they'd make fun of you for months.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:43 AM
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Or you could be an Urple-atheist and believe that it was morally incumbent on you to do whatever you could to stamp out religion

Wait, urple is a militant atheist? Wasn't he a practicing Roman Catholic as recently as a couple of years ago? When did the apostasy happen?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:49 AM
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No, not the kind of atheist Urple is -- he still isn't. The kind of atheist that Urple believes all atheists are.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:51 AM
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138: I am certainly opposed to government myth-making on principle, and am grateful to live in a country that has thrown off the oppression of the Established Church.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:53 AM
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Judging from previous posts it's pretty clear that whatever urple's church is, it has no dietary restrictions whatsoever.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 8:58 AM
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Boykin is an interesting character. First, after government pressure he walked back his statements some to be less about Islam and more about the dude he was talking about: "My comments to Osman Otto in Mogadishu were not referencing his worship of Allah but his worship of money and power; idolatry. He was a corrupt man, not a follower of Islam."

Second, he's a real fake crusader: "Boykin is listed as the Grand Chancellor of the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, a self-styled order of chivalry." (both from Wiki)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 9:01 AM
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152: In fact it seems to be one in which it is it is morally incumbent on you to do whatever you can do to affirm that belief through your actions.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 9:03 AM
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Even if you think that Muslims worship an idol it seems pretty weird (still) to think that halal slaughter is a sacrifice to said idol.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 9:05 AM
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154: a sort of culinary version of snake-handling, perhaps inspired by Matthew iv.3-4.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 9:07 AM
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LB, if you're still reading, check your Unfogged inbox.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 9:23 AM
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It forwards to my personal gmail, and is oddly slow -- I probably won't actually get it for an hour.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 9:26 AM
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Boykin is an interesting character

Loathsome, but interesting. He has a contrarian (for a conservative Republican) view of Jimmy Carter; basically admires his resolve and courage for ordering the unsuccessful hostage rescue mission (which Boykin commanded) to go forward.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 1-14 10:15 AM
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Relevant: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-28616115


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 4-14 2:21 AM
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