Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (194 mails)

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[opensuse-project] Re: [opensuse-factory] Religious and political views in packages
2011/9/9 todd rme <toddrme2178@xxxxxxxxx>:
On Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM, Lars Müller <lmuelle@xxxxxxx> wrote:
On Fri, Sep 09, 2011 at 11:59:40AM +0200, Sascha Peilicke wrote:
+The SWORD Project is an effort to create an ever expanding software package
+research and study of God and His Word.

Maybe best if one of our English native speakers commnets on this.

As a native English speaker, I do think this is a problem.  There are
three possible areas of controversy and offence here.  Two are easy to
change. one is not.

Lets be honest here, this is a cultural issue and not a native
language issue. In case you are not aware the Bible is the book
translated to more languages in the world, which clearly ends up any
discussion about languages.

1. "study of God" means that the Christian god is the one and only
true god.  This is the same as saying all other religions are false.
Obviously members of other religions would be justified in taking
offense at such a statement.


This brings problems, because if you read the email from Sasha,
there's no reference to any religion in particular, this to say that:

1. There's 3 big monotheistic religions, Christians, Judaísm and
Islam. Each one of them would qualify for the description provided and
each one of them as it's own relations with sword. Try to make a word
density check on the word 'sword'.

2. It's contents, our shit here is about serving contents, not judging

2. "His Word" means that the Bible is the word of God.  This has the
same problem as the previous, it is saying that the Christian bible is
the legitimate word of god, and by extension that others are wrong.

Could you please tell me where in Sasha's email is the word bible or
any reference to Christianity? The rule of openSUSE on this issue
should be pretty much neutral... We're not a theological community,
we're a technology community, it's not our role to decide who God is,
the verecity of his words or whatever men tells that are His words. We
either serve this package or we don't, we are not in a condition to
judge the contents, that's the priviledge that we delegate to users.

3. The name "sword" has a violent and aggressive connotation, usually
associated with more extreme and evangelical brands of Christianity.

The word SWORD has a high density in any of the three monotheistic
religions. In fact in some cases God is metaphored with a Sword that
defends the weak and punishes the guilty.

Lets not be radical... a sword is just a gourmet appliance :)

I am not longer Christian myself, but when I was a Christian I found
the name off-putting.  So the name might not only be a problem for
non-Christians, but for certain types of Christians as well.  However,
I think this is a much smaller issue than the description, and is
probably not worth making a big deal over.

We don't need to discuss people's beliefs...

1 and 2 are easy to fix by simply changing the description to something like:

"The SWORD Project is an effort to create an ever expanding software
package for research and study of the Christian bible and theology."

You are making a dreadful assumption, Sasha's email doesn't specify
religion and can be any of the 3 biggest monotheistic religions. What
if you change the description to that and SWORD is about Judaísm. You
just offended a lot of people. And even if it is about the bible, we
should not change jack on it, because there are quite a few versions
of the bible... for example:

1. King James bible
2. Paulist Bible
3. The Holy Bible (which was severelly modified by the Vatican, being
the last changes in 1961 when the word Satan was removed) -> used by
Roman Catholics

Who are we to enforce such changes and what cost? Who is the the
greatest Theology guy to guide us? Probably no one, so why not leave
those issues that are irrelevant to us to the authors ? It's their
work, not ours, they should call it and describe as they want... It's
not our name that comes there.

I think that would be neutral and acceptable to me.  As an atheist I
have no problem with having religous software, the issue is when the
openSUSE project has the appearance of endorsing particular religious
views or denigrating others.  The current description has this
appearance, but that is easy to fix.

Neutral brings two options:

1. Serve as any other package
2. Do not serve as any other package that breaks any guideline.

None of such options give us the right to judge the contents, that you
can do as your own private thingie, but not as a multi-cultural
community, which is what openSUSE is.

The name is more difficult to fix but in my opinion is not is not a
serious enough issue to warrant any action.  However, people who have
had problems with evangelical Christians in the past, or cultures that
have had problems with violence by Christians in the past, may have a
more serious issue with the name.

Wrong thing to do... None of us who live today has any responsibility
on what Roman Catholics did during the Spanish Inquisition, or even on
what Christian did during the 1st Cruzade. None of us who live today
were victims of it, or commanded/executed such deeds.

You should've been a judge to keep on judging people :)

So my personal vote would be to change the description to something
that does not imply a judgement on the validity of any religious
beliefs, while keeping the package.

All you did in the previous lines was to judge. Maybe you should've
started your email with this block of text and forget about the
judging. You were the one implying the usage of the word sword (which
I will defend it is a gourmet appliance), implying christians in acts
of violence... etc etc... where's the neutral non-judging stuff there?

There used to be one or more Muslim prayer plasma widgets offered by
KDE:Extra.  They don't appear to be there any more.  I think the rules
should at least be consistent, so if they were removed based on their
religious content then Christian software should also not be allowed.

Could you please provide physical evidence that such applications have
been removed because they were related to Islam? I doubt that as been
the reason... What I see packaged dropped is often related to lack of
maintainers or no longer updated upstream. You are making a very
serious accusation, and I strongly recommend that you provide
substancial evidance that they were removed because they were related
to Islam, if that is true, than all I can say is that we might be
considering to enforce the same policy applied to Sirko Kemter to
those who made such decisions because deep in the end we are a
multi-cultural community and as such we can't do that kind of bullying
based on people's beliefs. It's just not civilized.

On the other hand if they were removed because of a lack of a
maintainer or lack of upstream updates then it is irrelevant to the
current issue.

No, it makes all relevance. If they disappeared because they had no
maintainer or not updated, that's one thing, if someone removed them
because they were related to be connected to Islam as you implied
above, it's really something very serious. That is called
discrimination, it's pure plain prejudice and prejudice is far worst
than bullying. So my stance is to prejudice is to apply the same rules
applied to bullies, ejector seat.

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Nelson Marques

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