ACTS OF EMPATHY: How to Spread the Warmth

This post needs no comments from me.


— Max T. Furr is author of The Empathy Imperative, a philosophical novel.

What would the world be like if empathy, not self interest, were our primary motivating force?

Should an Atheist Group be Disallowed a Seat at the Table of Public Discourse?

Image: www.redbubble.com

“Woman with Dead Child” by Kathe Kollwitz, etching, 1903 National Gallery of Art,D.C. Image: http://www.redbubble.com 

Empathy, as I often say, must not be a one way street. The only way to a peaceful world is through Universal Empathy and Benevolent Reciprocity. This goes for religious groups as well as not religious groups. As John Stuart Mill put it, if all the world were of one opinion except for one person, the world would have no more right to silence him than he, had he the power, to silence the world.


Federal Lawsuit Demands Equal Space for “Reason Station,” Church-State Watchdog Says.

DETROIT – In an effort to protect the First Amendment rights of all Warren, Mich. residents regardless of their religious or philosophical beliefs or non-beliefs, the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Freedom from Religion Foundation have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city’s ban on an atheist booth in a city-hall atrium where the city has allowed a prayer station.
Image from http://www.soulation.org/Image: http://www.soulation.org/

The atrium has been set up by city officials as a public space that can be reserved by a wide variety of groups and individuals, including civic organizations and Warren residents, but the mayor is not allowing an atheist to use space in the atrium because his belief system “is not a religion.”

Since 2009, the city has allowed a local church group to run a prayer station in which volunteers distribute religious pamphlets, offer to pray with passersby, and discuss their religious beliefs with people who approach the station. The lawsuit filed today does not seek to have the prayer station removed, but instead asks the court to order the city to treat believers and non-believers equally.
“Once the government opens public space for use by private groups, it cannot pick and choose who can use the space based on the content of their message or whether public officials agree with that message,” said Dan Korobkin, ACLU of Michigan deputy legal director. “For instance, Warren officials would not be permitted to grant access to activists supportive of the mayor and reject the applications of activists who are critical of the mayor.  The same logic extends to this matter: the city cannot allow speech supportive of religion and reject speech supportive of atheism.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Douglas Marshall, a Warren resident whose request to install a “reason station” was rejected by the city. Marshall wishes to set up a station that is similar in size, structure and function to the prayer station – a folding table and chairs with literature on display and available to the public – except that his station will offer information and opportunities for discussion from a non-religious perspective.
“The city has an obligation to serve all members of the community equally, regardless of their faith or their lack of faith,” said Americans United Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser. “Our laws make it clear that our government can’t adopt a rule book that favors one group over another.”

Read more at: https://au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-allies-challenge-michigan-citys-rejection-of-atheist-display

— Max T. Furr is author of The Empathy Imperative, a philosophical novel based on the epic struggle between religion and science, and brings the true nature of justice, mercy, and love into sharp focus.  What would the world be like if empathy, not self interest, were our primary motivating force?

Brazil’s “biggest shame in history?” Really?

Let me first be clear. I am not opposed to non-pugilistic sports of any kind. Indeed, nations should continue their internal and international games. It is a superb way for societies to interact.

As Important as I feel sports to be, however, they should not be our highest priority.

Sao Paulo's Itaquerão stadium Photo from en.wikipedia.org

Sao Paulo’s Itaquerão stadium
Photo from en.wikipedia.org

To put things into prospective, the Sao Paulo’s Itaquerão stadium, home to the 2014 World Cup games, was built at the cost to the citizens for $350-million.

Residents in the area say that their taxes rose between 20 and 35 percent. A short distance from this beautiful stadium live about 4,800 homeless people, (men, women, and children).

The Brazilian sports newspaper Lance called Brazil’s loss to their team’s bid to win the soccer World Cup, “the biggest shame in history.” Really? Brazil’s biggest shame in history? How about the rampant, abject poverty in Brazil? No shame there?

Brazilian homeless Photo: Elizabeth Gorman/Al Jazeera

Photo: Elizabeth Gorman/Al Jazeera

Indifference to poverty in any country is a disgrace, and most, if not all countries have an overabundance of it–including the USA.

All societies should be judged by how they treat the least of their citizens. In the USA, there is an ever widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, and conservatives, who claim to be “family values” Christians, are fighting fang and claw to keep it that way.

Photo: Elizabeth Gorman/Al Jazeera

Photo: Elizabeth Gorman/Al Jazeera

Arrogance (self aggrandizement) and indifference fuel poverty and war. It seem the world has at least another millennium to go before it gets its priorities in proper order.

Most of us judge ourselves in comparison to others in society. It’s natural do do so. We can see that we are financially better off than many, but not as financially secure as others. Yet our focus is mainly on ourselves–our position in society relative to those with greater wealth.

Should we not be more concerned with those who have little or nothing? No one wants to live in abject poverty. Would it not be a greater good if everyone worked for the benefit of others? This view, of course, is considered naive by many, and indeed it is, given our present day world with its attitudes of dominance, profit, and self righteousness. But we have slowly advanced from where we’ve been in history. There are, today, more of us who can see the benefits of universal empathy. There are more of us who do unto others as we would have them do unto us. In time, there will be many more. We can only hope humanity survives to see the world we envision.


— Max T. Furr is author of The Empathy Imperative, a philosophical novel based on the epic struggle between religion and science, and brings the true nature of justice, mercy, and love into sharp focus.  What would the world be like if empathy, not self interest, were our primary motivating force?

 

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