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Who Cares?

June 9, 2010
6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jonathan permalink
    June 9, 2010 5:23 pm

    The ironic thing here is that this guy is defaming a Christian.

  2. Jonathan permalink
    June 10, 2010 1:00 am


    this is the definition of defamation:

    “Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. It is usually, but not always,[1] a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).”

    It would seem that by saying that Obama, who is clearly a Christian, is not a Christian, is at the least an act of libel, which falls under defamation. Therefore, the Christian anti-defamation counsel is defaming Obama, who is a Christian. Furthermore, the statement that Obama is not Christian is designed to give him a negative image with a large block of Americans, which further solidifies it as defamation.

    • Barry permalink*
      June 10, 2010 7:17 am

      It’s very tricky to make accusations of defamation stick in the United States. The definition you provided is incomplete. In addition to the claim being false, it’s generally a requirement that the speaker must know that it’s false. If the speaker has a definition of “Christian” that Obama doesn’t conform to, then he’s right that Obama’s not a Christian. It’s very hard to turn a definitional issue into defamation.

      Also, even if you assume that the guy is lying through his teeth and actually believes that Obama is Christian, all he’s really saying is that the President does not follow a certain belief system. I am thrilled not to be a Christian, and I don’t care who knows it. Ostensibly, so are the majority of people on this planet.

      Is the CADC a bunch of schmucks? Abso-fucking-lutely. But I don’t think they’re defaming the President by saying he’s not Christian.

  3. Jonathan permalink
    June 11, 2010 4:40 am

    Nah, you’re only looking at a small part of the picture. Obama tends to join liberal churches, and his opinion that other religions worship the same God, etc. is derived from the teachings of the churches he belongs to, and this opinion is shared by the hundreds of thousands of members of those churches. Those hundreds of thousands of people all consider themselves to be Christians, and by extension this guy is saying that none of them are. “Christian” is a pretty broad term, and can be used to describe a diverse number of peoples. By narrowing the definition of Christianity to exclude these peoples, this guy is engaging in an act of defamation.

    I understand that you are thrilled to not be a Christian. Personally, I think that me not being a Christian is OK, not great though. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to cook ham on Easter and invite the family over, to have memories of playing a lamb in the nativity scene at the local church as a child, and to look forward to growing old and reuniting with that special someone in heaven for an eternity of bliss… but of course, none of these things will ever be for me, they are only lazy imaginings.

    Where was I? Oh yeah. While a majority of the people in the world may be fine with Obama not being a Christian, the same can not be said for the United States, which happens to be the country Obama lives in, is president of, and was possibly (just kidding) born in. I have a feeling the video posted is intended for people in the United States, as I can’t see very many Frenchmen searching it out.

    As far as Defamation being hard to prove, just check out some of the things the Jewish anti defamation league says. They said the latest Cohen Brothers movie was anti Jewish defamation. Come on!

    All you have to do to prove something is defamation is to say that it is defamation. It isn’t even a legal issue. It is an issue of public perception.

    And yes, that means that my saying that the above video is defamation makes it defamation.

    • Barry permalink*
      June 11, 2010 8:03 am

      Why did you bother including a definition of defamation if you define the word to mean,”it occurs whenever anyone says so?” just kidding. Defamation is a tort – a wrong for which the perpetrator can be sued in civil court. It has a legal definition that sets a very high standard.

      That said, I understand that it can mean something less strict in a non-legal context. I agree with you that the guy was trying to damage Obama’s reputation, but I don’t think that saying (essentially) “his take on Christianity does not conform to my definition of Christianity” counts as defamation. Think about the audience. If most Americans are fairly liberal Christians, they’re going to think that the video is nuts. The only people for whom the video will be meaningful are people who probably wouldn’t have voted for Obama anyway, The notion that Obama is not a Christian, as presented in this video, may have taken a few votes away from him, but it certainly didn’t harm his reputation enough for him to lose our country’s biggest popularity contest.

      Yesterday, I read an article about people who have fled from North Korea. One of the most striking parts of the article came when a defector said that levels of dissatisfaction with the government have risen to the point that people will now call the government a thief. Even in broad daylight.

      After reading that, I reflected on the First Amendment. The broad protections it affords us are hard to overestimate.

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