Knowing Religion, and Why It Matters

August 30, 2010

Today’s guest post for our lineup of “Other NonProphets” is by Josh Oxley, a Master of Divinity student at the University of Chicago who is the Humanist Advisor to the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and recently started a new blog worth checking out. Like me, Josh is a former Christian who went on to pursue additional degrees studying religion; in today’s post, he explains why it is so important for secular folks to enrich the dialogue around religion, become religiously literate, and move beyond simplistic “religion is bad” rhetoric. And away we go:

religious literacy

From Stephen Prothero's website; click to go there for helpful info on religious literacy. -Chris

There’s a beautiful diversity to the atheist community. Diversity in experience, thought, method, temperament. We’re united in our rejection of the fictional and supernatural, but almost anything else goes.

Some of us left a religious tradition in the name of freethought. Others never had a faith to leave.

Some view ethical decisions as humanists. Some are nihilists. Others, hedonists. Utilitarians. Objectivists.

I love that kind of breadth and depth. There’s power in our varied experiences, our varying approaches to this life. To come to the same place — a rejection of religion within our lives — from such different journeys and walks is a pretty powerful statement.

What we can sometimes forget, however, is the great diversity within religious traditions as well. And I think we run a great risk when we sell religion short.

You probably know many to most of the big schisms. Protestant-Catholic-Orthodox Christianity. Sunni-Shia Islam (and the Sufi question). Theravada-Mahayana Buddhism. And you know there’s a whole myriad of more minute distinctions in addition to these, across all faith traditions.

For that reason, I think it’s our job to stay the most informed, to stay literate in our understanding of religion.

Why? So many reasons come to mind. For one, our illiteracy in religious matters can make our assertions — and our check on religious overreach — less impactful. You know what it feels like when a talking head on TV gets your community’s purpose all wrong. Nothing pisses off a conversation partner quicker than misrepresenting her intellectual position. It shuts off the genuine give-and-take dialogue that life thrives on, and it makes for fast enemies. If we paint religion with too broad a brush, we run the risk of degrading the power of our message. It’s a matter of integrity.

And integrity matters. It’s damaging to the community every time we try and characterize a “Religion of Peace” or “Religion of the Sword.” No tradition is so easily described, and we should know that. I’m still annoyed with the New Atheists for taking this path — particularly Hitchens — as it makes for far too simplistic a dialogue. There are vengeful Buddhists and pacifist Muslims. Religions move from domineering to Diaspora. And yet we feed that simple, dualistic language in society that pits the “Us” and “Them” at each other’s throats. And we sell ourselves short, in a world that still is far too beholden with belief for its own good.

Religion is also a part of history, world politics, and all sorts of affairs. We’re remiss if we think we can label it all under “superstitious bunk” and think we have it figured out. American politics is particularly rife with it. The furor over gay marriage isn’t fully understood without looking to Mormon and Catholic involvement. The rise of American homeschooling has much to do with the rise of evangelical Protestants. So one could go on and on. Suffice to say, an understanding of politics devoid of religious knowledge would be a dangerously impaired grasp.

There’s a little-discussed point to mention. We have the unique opportunity to be the most thorough, critical, and exacting observers and students of religion. It’s one of the reasons why I’m still a Religious Studies student at this moment, working on my Masters degree, even though I don’t find belief compelling. Religions don’t always understand each other all that well. As a Christian in much of my undergraduate years, I could study Islam thoroughly, but I couldn’t help but be a bit uneasy. A Muslim faculty advisor, perhaps jokingly, asked me to not convert anyone I met during field work. I’d never do that, I told her. But part of my brain also told me that saving souls was more important that data collection. I was torn by that divide, but can see past that now. There are no competing masters to serve. And few would argue against helping Muslims and Christians deepen their understanding, I’d wager, if it could lead to greater peace and security in the world.

With no hell to tempt and no deity to commit sacrilege against, we can ask the pointed questions of religion as few others can. But let’s do so in honesty and charity. Let’s aim to be the well-spoken and well-read at the table. Let’s give the same respect we would ask for. That way, we can emerge as a vital community, honest in its dealings, and yet powerfully committed to seeing the world change for the better. And better understanding religion — and its practitioners throughout the world — will go a long way towards fulfilling that goal.

Josh OxleyHaving spent most of his life in Virginia, Josh Oxley is a Master of Divinity student at the University of Chicago, Class of 2012. He is currently the Humanist Advisor to the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, and is a member of the Religious Advisors Council. He’s a member of the American Humanist Association, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the Foundation Beyond Belief. Deeply committed to building secular community in the United States, Josh seeks to work within an interfaith role to better humanity here and now. He’s all for atheism developing a vital and positive image in the public light, and doing what he can to bring that about.

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12 Responses to “Knowing Religion, and Why It Matters”

  1. […] Aug So Chris at NonProphet Status was kind enough to feature a guest post by yours truly today! Please take a moment and visit his fantastic blog, and to learn more about why secular […]

  2. Hitch said

    Thanks, an interesting thought-provoking piece.

    A few points to consider.

    Let’s take new atheism. Dawkins actually completely agrees with you. Let’s teach all world religions in school. His argument is very similar to yours too. But his views still to this day also get simplified. I actually have spent quite a bit of time in book stores and libraries recently to find a critic of new atheism who I think gives a fair description (let alone assessment) of what they so-called new atheists actually say. I still haven’t found any (pointer welcome!). But we constantly hear this demand for more sophistication from them.

    The sophistication claims often takes bizarre routes. For example Reza Aslan has criticized new atheists for not even knowing their predecessors and not dealing with, say, Feuerbach. But surely Reza would be no more happy with a Feuerbachian critique of religion than a, say, Hitchensian.

    And of course noone calls an anglo-saxon christian apologist to task for not engaging in theological literature of german, or latin american traditions. And there is no outcry when apologists misuse science or mischaracterize history. So one will happily find even today books that minimize the anti-semitic prehistory and Luther’s own polemical (or poisonous) writing on the topic. That is OK. No need to ask for sophistication or honesty there! After all it is more comforting to think of certain historical figures as nicer than they perhaps were.

    No, we kind of limit this sophistication charge to just a specific sub-group. A group that we want to be understood as not sophisticated, and hence have grounds to dismiss what they say.

    Yet we will find few who argue in as much nuance about C.S. Lewis’s position as Hitchens, nor will we find few who understand the tapestry of analytic philosophy, atheism, belief, social and evolutionary Darwinism and neurobiology as much as Daniel Dennett. That along with the topic of free will, key to many apologetic thinkers, is also well kept with Dennett.

    Even on Islam it is likely that Hitchens has read more than many of those who call him uninformed on the issue. But rather than engage on the points he does make, he is engaged on his supposed superficiality. Sophistication is mixed with being charitable and pleasant. But yes, Hitchens is a polemicist. To mince words, gets in the way of making a sharp point. Are we to reject polemics? And with it the traditions of Jonathan Swift, Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Mark Twain, Robert Green Ingersoll? Are we worse or better off because we have people who try to articulate pointedly what they see?

    And the polemic style is certainly not limited to secular skeptics, we find polemics also written by Christian and Islamic authors.

    But the point that you carve out is indeed a tangible one. Let’s do things with “honesty and charity”. Certainly that should be charity for all sides, but I have covered that already.

    The real question here is, shall we be silent rather than honest in the name of charity? Is there a line here, or do we see these as independent.

    And what charity do we want to extend to those critical, uncomfortable voices? Should they not receive extra charity because after all they are most likely to be ostracized.

    I think we should ask more often: Of whom do we demand honesty, and of whom do we demand charity? And why is this there no balance?

    I’m looking forward to honest yet charitable discussions of atheism by the religious, especially the religious belonging to some of the most dominant groups. Should be a heart-warming change! If we get that, then indeed pluralistic toleration will have made a big step forward. For tolerance only has any merit if it deals with discomfort, not just with comfort.

    In medicine we cannot expect a good diagnosis without talking about the unpleasant aspects. Why do we expect this in human affairs?

    Because indeed we are in a great position to ask pointed questions. Sadly some of the most pointed questions do not get pointed answers, but rather a wave of attempts to get the question off the table again.

  3. Josh said

    Hitch, thanks for your comments. They’re quite thoughtful, and I wish i had the time to do them justice. I can touch on a point or two before I head out the door.

    First off, Dawkins and I agree on a great many things. I wrote a short piece on Dawkins’ recent Faith-School Documentary, and you’d see that we agree on interreligious understanding, religious literacy, and many other topics. I find Hitchens less nuanced and more polemical, which is why I brought him up.

    I limit the sophistication charge to no-one. Every group must deal with its own history, its adopted heritage, and the good and bag that brgins along. And were i writing on a primarily theistic blog, I would have written a piece on the nuances of non-theism, and how generalizing there is equally dangerous. Which is exactly why I started the piece as I did: religion is vast and diverse. Freethought is too. But since the majority of the audience here is secular, I thought it’d be best to address it as such.

    When it comes to charity, I agree that the marginalized voice deserves the utmost respect. I respect the right of others to speak, if not always the content. Polemics can be an important part of discourse, but not all polemic is alike. Polemic can be insightful, using emotion and experience to help shape greater understanding. Or it can be self-serving, an emotional release valve that doesn’t further the discussion.

    Polemic isn’t bad in and of itself. But there are polemicists across the spectrum–secular, Christian, Islamic, and otherwise–who I don’t see doing much with that emotion. I have a personal soft spot for Hitchens, and no one can deny his writing is quite beautiful. But I often wonder if his work appeals to me primarily because we share similar viewpoints on many matters, and thus I can sometimes overlook his overstatements. Maybe polemic is best for the community one is speaking from: I think it’s easily ignored by those you speak against.

    Honesty and charity are important to me within the secular community, because I think it’s the areas that are often least associated with us. But I think that need is tempered by a corresponding need for the religious to be charitable with secular thinkers as well. Again, I wrote the piece here for secular individuals, and that guided the content. But theres a huge need for religious groups to see atheism as a viable, nuanced, and vibrant tradition. It’ll take time, but it’s a lifelong goal of mine to see happen.

    Again, thanks for your thoughts, and I’m sorry I can’t go deeper into them. I appreciate the candor you write with!

  4. Hitch said

    Josh, thanks for your added perspective. I don’t think we are very far apart here at all.

    Hitchens is a tricky case. The way I look at him is that he does at times have the ability to really extricate the essence of a point and drive it home (through polemics). But yes he also at times picks points I disagree with and does the same.

    Let me give a few examples:

    1) Hitchens’s case against censorship and for free speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOck_bDb0JA

    This is the best case for free speech perhaps ever. Far from being superficial in his arguments, Hitchens actually properly engages, though rapidly (thanks to the limits of the debate format) with relevant precursors and extracts the key essence. This is for me Hitchens at its very best. Yes he does appeal to emotion, but not without laying the proper intellectual foundation to it. There is no obfuscation here. If one disagrees with him, it is clear what his position is and why.

    2) Hitchens on Pascal’s Wager: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X94YffpUryo

    In constrast to other critics of the wager, Hitchens drives how the point that the wager really appeals to low emotional standards, along with logical and moral standards that other critics usually cite. This is a strong point and not a frivolous one. He calls it hucksterism, which is polemical, yet I think accurate to drive home that point. This again, is among my favorite reactions to Pascal’s Wager.

    So these are examples of polemics that I think are proper and make very important points, which in fact I don’t think I have seen made with the kind of clarity as discussed here. Yes they are also exercises in rhetorical style and delivery, and they do not shy away from using emotion. But if anything I see emotion here as devices to amplify legitimate points rather than appeal just to emotion. But others may see these examples differently. Hitchens is certainly game for cheap laughs, as both examples show.

    Now for a more interesting example:

    3) Hitchens on Iraq: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL51xyV9XiI

    Now I disagree with Hitchens on Iraq. But I am hard pressed to see his argument as shallow or obviously frivolous. He uses the same style here too.

    4) Hitchens on Women: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yestJpXHcD4

    I think I get the point of what he is trying to say here, but I don’t like how he gets there and he has things on the plate that do not belong there etc etc. I think this is one of his weaker but also not really meant to be serious points. What is interesting here is how he is being read, and he addresses this in this response. Hitchens has been accused of being a misogomist. Now I can see where that charge comes from and that too has a certain nugget of truth.

    Ok that’s enough examples and I don’t want to prime too much how to think about them. But I do think it is defensible to say that Hitchens is not just a bomb-thrower, or too quick to polarize. It is fair to call him a polemicist. But I think his own ideas deserve the kind of nuance that he actually does bring if we listen to what he actually says (as opposed to the image some of his critics paint of him, even those critics such as Terry Eagleton which claim sophistication but don’t really display it).

  5. […] Knowing Religion, and Why It Matters by Josh Oxley […]

  6. And what charity do we want to extend to those critical, uncomfortable voices? Should they not receive extra charity because after all they are most likely to be ostracized.

    Hitchens is not just a polemicist. He is a warmonger whose professional role has been to rile up atheists and liberals to support murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Let’s keep that in mind while we ponder why he gets a less than charitable reception.

    Dan Dennett, Pascal Boyer and Austin Cline receive no similar level of condemnation, though their attacks on religion are quite devastating. Coincidentally, they are not in the business of promoting a “clash of civilizations.” They do not pick a popular foreign scapegoat and then beat the war drums to sell their books.

    Your attempts to portray Christopher Hitchens as the victim here are a complete inversion of morality. If you’re going to identify with him, then yes, you should be marginalized. But this is not simply for his atheism.

    • Hitch said

      I have no problem at all with you considering Hitchens a warmonger. That doesn’t contradict at all what I said about him.

      Rather difficult to respond to this simply because you do not read what I say the way I intended it.

      But let me not even go there. Let me say something that is much more important to me:

      Identification. I reject it. I also reject marginalization. That you promote it is rather sad.

      But yes, I failed to make my case. The case I make is actually one that is really important to me. Namely that we should not dismiss the person for one view he holds. We can look at the range of views, take them for what they say and hold their values independently.

      But we live in a culture of whole-sale branding and dismissal. It’s is both dangerous and very sad.

      I hope you will change your ideas about identification and marginalization one day… that would be goodie.

      • I have no problem at all with you considering Hitchens a warmonger. That doesn’t contradict at all what I said about him.

        You complained that Hitchens is disdained as unsophisticated. That he draws simplistic lines to justify mass murder is one of the reasons I regard him as unsophisticated. The worst part is that I know he’s capable of better. He’s been a war journalist, he’s not stupid, and he must understand some of the nuance he glosses over. So he’s doing it deliberately.

        Look at the way he demonized Rauf for suggesting that US policies contributed in part to the 9/11 attack. Hitchens has long been a student of US policy in the Middle East. He knows the US has toppled democratically elected governments and installed dictatorships in their stead, he knows the US has helped rig elections, he knows the US has covered up war crimes, and he knows that a lot of people in the Middle East resent the US for these things (and some nonsense; I’m not suggesting that all criticisms of the US are legitimate). Hitchens must know that Rauf is correct and not outside the mainstream in this assessment.

        Yet he demonizes Rauf for “his sinister belief that the United States was partially responsible for the assault on the World Trade Center”. What’s sinister about it? Hitchens the historical materialist knows that actions have consequences. He chooses to be unsophisticated in addressing this issue, when he has a Muslim target to attack. Bigoted demogogy.

        I agree with you that he’s capable of sophisticated analysis. And he brings it sometimes. But he is unsophisticated when it serves his purposes, so the criticism is fair.

        Rather difficult to respond to this simply because you do not read what I say the way I intended it.

        Am I supposed to be a mind reader? If you want to be clearly understood, that’s your responsibility. If you want to be perfectly understood, you might as well give up.

        Identification. I reject it.

        I don’t have a clue what this means.

        I also reject marginalization. That you promote it is rather sad.

        You would not agree that anti-vaccinationists should be marginalized by the media? You would not agree that the Discovery Institute should be marginalized by science journalists? You would not agree that white supremacists should be marginalized by mainstream politicians?

        I doubt there is no one that you would say should never be marginalized under any circumstances. That I draw the line elsewhere is a matter for discussion.

        Namely that we should not dismiss the person for one view he holds. We can look at the range of views, take them for what they say and hold their values independently.

        Only in theory. In practice, people have limited time and resources. If they realize that Hitchens has exaggerated about Rauf, they are justified in wondering whether he has misled them about other things, and they are justified in deciding to turn their finite attention elsewhere to someone who is more trustworthy. There are dishes piling up in the sink, bills to be paid, and plenty of other people besides Hitchens who present issues worthy of attention.

      • Hitch said

        Well yes, I have a problem specifically if people claim that Hitchens is unsophisticated in his positions on atheism and I gave specific examples why I claim that. None of what you have said so far counters that in fact you concede:

        “I agree with you that he’s capable of sophisticated analysis.”

        Great. I have already conceded that I disagree with Hitchens, but I have given a specific argument by Hitchens that I would defend to be at least have some depth of argument (irregardless that I disagree with facts and conclusions). That too has been left unchallenged.

        Rather you bring in new things and want me to respond to them.

        Let me actually go to one. Hitchens on Rauf. I have read much being said about that article. I think there is fair criticism of the article to be had, but I have read lots of exaggerated criticism of it. Hitchens does not take a shallow position on the mosque, but he actually does what I think is fair to do, though I personally do not consider it fruitful. Namely explore the ideas.

        Rauf himself has referred to notions of the Iranian clerical movement. It is fair to ask what that means. And in fact I know of Muslims who have asked that question. But people see Hitchens through the lense of the warmonger, so even if he does bring a more nuanced point that is washed away by people’s anger over his positions.

        There is lots of critique to be had for Hitchens, specifically on Iraq and for his part on the islamofascism branding. But lets at least take him for his word and not for the scare we can have around him, and there is plenty.

        But who is the sophisticated critic of Islam? Anybody who actually dares to articulate any criticism is totally demagogued too. The fact that Hitchens is actually well read in quite a bit of the situation, better read than many shines nowhere. Ibn Warriq? Is that an unsophisticated argument? Or is the only criticism we ever going to allow internal. Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd perhaps? Where is the line, and what does one have to show to be a card-carrying “sophisticated”? Of all disagreement Edward Said had with Hitchens I have never read that Said considered Hitchens’ arguments unsophisticated. So who is the authority?

        And yes let me say it. I much rather have people ask rarely asked questions and be totally wrong about them, than noone asking the questions at all.

        Frankly I think that people confuse thinking that Hitchens is dead wrong and feeds demagoguery, a point I don’t contest at all, with him not being sophisticated, by some sensible measure of sophistication. But perhaps psychologically we are not supposed to grant someone who we see so negatively as in any way positive?

        I personally like to separate disagreement from whole-sale dismissal. It has helped me still listen to interesting points from people who I completely disagree with on even deeply held topics.

        And on marginalization, I think people should be treated on the merit of their argument not on whether they are considered marginal or not. The whole notion that it is OK to marginalize has done untold damage to disenfranchised groups, we should bury that lazy device. Discovery Institute is easy to see as without merit and a journalist is fine to describe it for what it is. In fact describing it on its own merit is the most devastating thing you can do to dishonest and damaging organizations.

        Should I marginalize David Frum, Andrew Sullivan, or a whole range of conservative thinkers who I think on a few occasions said something interesting? Should I dismiss Ron Paul because I think his economics is bad and even dangerous, but appreciate his stance on foreign policy and individual liberty? I think this blanket motions to dismiss is anti-intellectual and I reject it.

      • Well yes, I have a problem specifically if people claim that Hitchens is unsophisticated in his positions on atheism

        You just shifted the goalposts. I don’t care if Hitchens is unsophisticated about atheism. No interest in discussing it. Frankly, it isn’t worth your time either. As Dawkins points out, the average believer’s own supernatural beliefs are remarkably unsophisticated, and heavy texts against Spinoza or Barth would be useless to most people. This is an admission by Dawkins that his own TGD is unsophisticated, of course, but it’s as unsophisticated as it needs to be. This admission really is a much more effective response than trying to portray TGD as something it’s not.

        But Chris Hitchens more generally is unsophisticated. Deliberately so, as I said above. His sophistication or unsophistication about atheism will not hurt anyone. His distortions of Rauf may contribute to further anti-Muslim violence. You managed to write about the rest of Hitchens’ article without addressing this point.

        Rauf’s characterization of US policies’ contribution to 9/11 is correct. Hitchens is too clever not to know this. Yet he calls Rauf’s view “sinister” and suggests we should distrust him for it. This is not only unsophisticated, it is potentially deadly.

        But who is the sophisticated critic of Islam?

        I don’t know. I already know why I’m not a Muslim: they believe in God. So I don’t seek out further criticism of “Islam.” I do seek out Muslim feminists and gay Muslims reformative work, but these are not criticisms of Islam as such, they are at most criticisms of patriarchal trends which exist within both Islamic and secular societies.

        A sophisticated critic of Islam would be able to address why the Quran is false, without slandering Muslims or promoting a “clash of civilizations.” So that rules Ibn Warriq out. I don’t know anything about Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, but it appears from his Wikipedia article that he remained a Muslim all his life, so I would call him a reformer, and I suggest you’d be doing his work no favors to characterize it as criticism.

        And yes let me say it. I much rather have people ask rarely asked questions and be totally wrong about them, than noone asking the questions at all.

        How brave of you to stake out that uncontested territory. But “are teh Muslims a threat to civilization” is not rarely asked. Really, the last rare question I can recall Hitchens asking was about Mother Theresa.

        Specifically, “how did US policies contribute to 9/11” is far more rarely asked than “is anyone who suggests that US policies contributed to 9/11 a sinister, sinister man?”

        And on marginalization, I think people should be treated on the merit of their argument not on whether they are considered marginal or not.

        That’s quite a different matter than whether or not people should be marginalized.

        Look, if we do not teach Intelligent Design in public school classrooms then we are marginalizing it. You may think this word unfair, but it’s true. We are marginalizing creationists by not spending valuable classtime on their nonsense. But this is necessary. We have to do it. Unless you seriously want high school biology teachers to waste their time with ID curricula, you are pro-marginalization.

      • Hitch said

        Sorry, I am really alergic to “shifting goalpost” charges. I have seen my share of unfair debaters who are all about trying to claim that you change the topic.

        Two things to that:

        1) It gets in the way of exploring an area
        2) It is way too often false and just an attempt to get at the other person

        I do not claim that you try to get at me in this case, but it is false in this case.

        What is the goalpost? OP discussed Hitchens with respect to his knowledge about religion! That is the goalpost. That is what I argue. The goalpost never was if Hitchens is sophisticated on Iraq or middle-eastern politics.

        But I won’t be accusing you of shifting goalposts, exactly because of 1). You may or may not have “shifted goalposts”. It is not constructive debating to feed that into the discourse as far as I am concerned.

        People can indeed shift goalposts, and at times we have no choice to point that out (though I never have had that need).

        Simply bringing back to the original point and reiterating it is usually enough, at least for me. Or alternatively, agreeing to disagree.

        I hope you understand that I reject that kind of arguing and why I find it unfit. So I hope we have an understanding about “shifting goal-post” charges. If you think I’m off-base bring it back to the core topic. It is that simple.

        So to what you say: “I don’t care if Hitchens is unsophisticated about atheism. No interest in discussing it.”

        Sorry but the topic I discuss, in alignment with OP is Hitchens’ knowledge of atheism and religion. If that topic does not interest you for discussion we do not need to discuss. All I have said about Hitchens is around that scope and that is my interest for debate.

        I’m happy to stop debating given that clearly we are mis-aligned in our topic interests.

        So let me skip to the point that actually does interest me.

        I wrote:
        “And on marginalization, I think people should be treated on the merit of their argument not on whether they are considered marginal or not.”

        You respond:
        “That’s quite a different matter than whether or not people should be marginalized.”

        You won’t find me agreeing to splitting this difference. I have been quite clear about what I propose.

        Discuss in content and merit. It’s that simple. Just speak the truth. Point to the wedge document, point to the Dover ruling. Description is quite sufficient. Not marginalization. And to not marginalize does not mean that one allows misinformation to be spread. That goes against the idea of content and merit.

        And the much larger gain we get is that nasty habit of marginalize those that have no voice, or difficult opinions will also be disallowed as method. It’s a small price to pay to having to debunk propaganda if we can keep the arena for the scares, vulnerable and precious voices. After all we do want the subaltern to speak and per chance be heard.

  7. Josh, I would caution against using the label of New Atheists. It’s a propaganda term that’s difficult to keep a handle on.

    It’s currently being rather successfully defined to mean only the notion that atheists should speak up for themselves and insist on fair treatment.

    You’re going to come across plenty of atheists who take it to mean no more than that, and who’ll then be upset by what they perceive as criticism for being merely outspoken.

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