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Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites 1695

theodp writes "In response to a complaint, Rackspace has shut down the websites of the Dove World Outreach Center, a small 50-member church which has received national and international criticism for a planned book burning of the Quran on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The center 'violated the hate-speech provision of our acceptable-use policy,' explained Rackspace spokesman Dan Goodgame. 'This is not a constitutional issue. This is a contract issue,' said Goodgame, who added he did not know how long it had hosted the church's sites. Not quite the same thing, but would Kurt Westergaard's cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad also violate Rackspace's AUP? How about Christopher Hitchens' Slate articles? Could articles from one-time Rackspace poster child The Onion pass muster?"
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Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites

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  • well done (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spd_rcr ( 537511 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:51AM (#33519630) Homepage

    awesome, it's nice to see a company with a bit of a spine, freedom of speech is one thing, but no-one has to provide a stage.

    • Re:well done (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Isaac-1 ( 233099 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:59AM (#33519728)

      Would you be saying the same thing if it were the phone company disconnecting their phone service? It is funny how the ISP's and Hosting companies want all that common carrier protection right up until they do something like this, and then don't want to play the neutral party obligation that goes along with being a common carrier.

  • First host! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrsteveman1 ( 1010381 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:52AM (#33519640)

    Really though, bigots, use Linode. They don't have a policy like this.

  • by Isaac-1 ( 233099 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:54AM (#33519664)

    Sooner or later you get into the question, do people have the right to dislike other groups of people?

    • by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:57AM (#33519698) Journal

      How is this a matter of hate speech laws? There's no law involved here, only the Acceptable Use Policy of Rackspace. It's not a matter of whether people have the right to dislike other groups of people. It's a matter of whether you can be punished for breaking a contractual obligation not to host stuff that violates the acceptable use policy.

      • by Isaac-1 ( 233099 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:09AM (#33519876)

        True, but the root of these acceptable use policies that started many years ago with EULA's that stated things like this word processor can't be used to generate hate speech. All goes back to this war on freedom of thought that the hate speech laws so clearly represent. Keep in mind I am not saying anything about the merits of their position, just that using catch all contract clauses that have came about by a cultural lapse in judgement that thinks if you make it so no one can legally have a negative opinion then all will be well.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:58AM (#33519708)
    Political Correctness has replaced both freedom of religion AND freedom of speech in this country. We've become a nation of cowards.
    • by Pikoro ( 844299 ) <init&init,sh> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:08AM (#33519850) Homepage Journal
      Need to quote my own sig for those that have them turned off: (quote is sig was made intentionally shorter to fit the size limit. Here is the full one) "Freedom in the United States of America is no longer the ability to do what you want. It is the ability to stop others from doing what THEY want." - A. Anderson
  • by clickety6 ( 141178 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:06AM (#33519826)
    I'm not sure what's sadder. A backwoods pastor trying to provoke a reaction by book burning or the international media giving the idiot so much free airtime and so many free column inches. I bet the guy has never felt so important. If I were a cynical sort, I would think the media is devoting so much time to this subject purely to provoke a reaction from certain groups in order to have something explosive to report and moralise on. After all, nothing sells newspapers like violence and bloodshed...
  • by Palestrina ( 715471 ) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:06AM (#33519828) Homepage does a tolerant society deal with intolerance?

    There are many inconsistent and hypocritical ways of answering this question. I'm not sure there are any good answers.

    This "church" is doing to tolerance what Gödel did to mathematics -- showing its internal contradictions.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:53AM (#33520732)

      These guys are doing -nothing- of consequence. The Koran comes off of a web press in the tens of thousands, just like any other book these days. So all they are doing ultimately is making a bit more business for some printer. It isn't as though they are destroying some special, ancient Koran that has historical and cultural significance, they are just burning a mass produced book. If they can't see the futility of that, well then that makes them the retards.

      Is it offensive? Probably but then when did anyone have the right not to be offended? I see offensive shit all the time out there, particularly against religions. South Park has been positively brutal to the Catholics, the Mormons, the Scientologists, etc. They have been some of the funniest episodes (the Mormon one kills me every time) but I'm sure they offended the hell out of a bunch of people. Tough. Nobody says you have the right to go through life and not be offended.

      So these guys want to go offend Muslims. Big deal, who cares? Let them.

      Tolerance means letting people do what they want, more or less. There has to be limits, you can't harm others, but there's no reason you can't offend them. Also real tolerance would be on the part of Muslims says "Ya knock yourselves out. Retards," and just ignoring the whole thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:07AM (#33519834)

    Reading a book from cover to cover should be a prerequisite to burning it.

  • Satire (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:09AM (#33519878) Homepage

    If you can explain to me how burning someone else's holy book qualifies as satire or parody then I'll accept the equivalence with Westergaard's case.

    This situation is closer to a company like Rackspace choosing not to host the KKK's web site. Doesn't exactly make Rackspace a paragon of free speech, but there no shortage of service providers out there who are willing to host the site... most at a premium that covers the inevitable hack attacks.

    • Re:Satire (Score:5, Informative)

      by Silverhammer ( 13644 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:32AM (#33520328)

      If you can explain to me how burning someone else's holy book qualifies as satire or parody then I'll accept the equivalence with Westergaard's case.

      Have you seen the videos of the Muslim protests against this? They're burning all sorts of things in response to just the announcement of the Koran burning.

    • Re:Satire (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:41AM (#33520480)

      If you can explain to me how burning someone else's holy book qualifies as satire or parody then I'll accept the equivalence with Westergaard's case.

      I'm sure burning someone else's holy book would be vandalism, destruction of property, and a crime.

      However, burning your own copy of a different religion's holy book, would just be destroying your own property, which isn't harming anyone else. And making fun of religious folks in general, and some people's strange notion that destroying one copy of a book is somehow scorning their beliefs.

      If a religion wants to prevent people from burning their book, then they should distribute the book only to their religious institutions, under requirement that special agreements be assigned to protect their copy of the book from vandalism, restrictions against distribution, etc.

  • by Salamander ( 33735 ) <`su.pyta.lp' `ta' `ffej'> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:11AM (#33519896) Homepage Journal

    (1) The constitution is binding on the *government*, not private parties. Rackspace may deny service to anyone, just as Dove World Outrage Center may.
    (2) There's a legal and moral distinction between being insulting or derogatory speech (Westergaard, Onion) and inciting violence (Dove).
    (3) "Clear and present danger" is a recognized exception to free speech. Don't yell fire in a crowded theatre, etc. The *predictable* result of Dove's action is a sharply increased risk of retaliatory attacks killing US soldiers.

    IMO any of these three reasons alone is sufficient to say that Rackspace's action is no affront to free speech. In combination, they're sufficient for me to say that anyone who protests Rackspace's actions more than Dove's is exhibiting a lack of understanding and/or perspective so serious that it's the domain of psychiatry rather than philosophy. I say that as a card-carrying monthly-dues-paying ACLU member, by the way. The actual advancement of civil liberties is only harmed by such ridiculous positions.

    • by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:32AM (#33520330) Homepage

      "Clear and present danger" is most emphatically NOT a recognized exception to free speech. Schenck was overturned in Brandenburg v. Ohio. The standard is "imminent lawless action." Speech is not protected by the First Amendment if the speaker intends to incite a violation of the law that is both imminent and likely. This was further clarified in Hess v. Indiana, which found that Hess's words did not fall outside the limits of protected speech, in part, because his speech "amounted to nothing more than advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time." []

  • by hessian ( 467078 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:58AM (#33520850) Homepage Journal

    Each philosophy (including all religions) thinks it is the right one.

    Two or more cannot coexist in the same space.

    People have the right to be intolerant... because without intolerance, they allow themselves to be assimilated.

    RackSpace made a stupid error by getting involved in a political issue. Now people will expect more webhosts to do this, and they will waste many more hours trying to figure out what is and is not "hate speech."

    Remember, if you're criticizing a majority (whites, Christians, Jews/Judaism, conservatives, men, heterosexuals) it's OK, but if you're criticizing a minority (African-Americans, Muslims/Islam, homosexuals, polyamorists) it's a "hate crime" (NewSpeak for unsanctioned thought).

  • In other news... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:25AM (#33521368)

    ...the government announced IDIOT, the International Determination of Islamic Offense Team. The team will be charged with analyzing any and all public actions with awareness factors above 0.5 Lohans (note: the Lohan has now superseded the Hilton as a media awareness unit of measurement by NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and determine at what level the Religion of Peace will be moved to violence.

    The rough first cut ratings are:

    G = General discontent and hate speech directed at the West
    R = Rioting and demonstrations
    B = Burning of American flags, French cars and other related items
    M = Murder of Westerners and the members of other, less peaceful religions
    T = Planned acts of terrorism
    W = Planned acts of war
    X = Global thermonuclear devastation
    Z = Zombie hordes (The IDIOTs failed to fully explain this one. Inquiries are pending)

  • by tarlss ( 627609 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:32AM (#33521510)


    To the people who say 'Why doesn't the government condemn radical Islam?" , the fact is, we do.

    The US Government, like all good government, speaks mostly through action rather than words in condemning radical Islam. Think about it.

    -Supporting dictatorships in lieu of radical Islamic Groups (The US's support for Pakistan, and propping up the Shah of Iran)
    -Supporting a dictatorship's war against a theocracy run by radical Muslims (Iran/Iraq War)
    -Targetted killings of radical Islamicists in Iraq and Afghanistan
    -Huge bounties on the heads of radical Islamicists (The hunt for Osama Bin Laden)
    -Wholesale invasions of countries and the dissolution of governments that support radical Islam (Invasion of Afghanistan and the fight against the Taliban)
    -Supporting moderate Muslim governments over radical ones (Visits to Egypt, funding for Pakistan and Iraq)

    In fact, the American military's main goal over the past 9 years has been the suppression, destruction and dissolution of radical Islam over the years. Pretty much every armed force from the Army proper, to the CIA has been devoted to taking radical Islam to task.

    Paster Terry Jones is acting like an asshat and ruining our work against radical Islam. THAT'S why we're condemning him.

    When Muslims burn bibles, the Western world DOES get upset. Infact, we get so upset we make lists of the incidents and eventually take armed actions against groups that go too far. Obviously we hope that the local governments take care of things, but do you think that the US is so naive? We have diplomats and ambassadors all over the world busy 'nudging' governments whenever such actions occur.

    Radical Islam taking action against blasphemers isn't a threat, it's a fact. We have armed men and women protecting us so we CAN do blasphemous acts safely. But doing them makes their job harder. It's just like you don't randomly provoke local gang-members or mafia-men: it's well within your rights to do, but is it SMART? No. Can the government protect you from retaliation? They'll TRY, but whether they'll succeed is a different matter.

    Radical Muslims, like any radical members of a religion, are generally brainwashed ignorant thugs. Pastor Terry Jones is a radical Christian. Why should we treat him any differently? We should condemn his sentiments and desires, and make sure to take action in case things turn violent.

  • when the trolls, from the christian world, or the muslim world, or the liberal world or the conservative world, are the ones driving the conversation

    the vast majority of christians, muslims, liberals and conservatives are simply good people. but the ones who make the headlines and drive every subject of conversation are the same sort of people you see with a -1 rating on slashdot: the fucking useless trolls

    i swear, international relations and domestic political commentary needs something like a slashdot rating system

    let the trolls loose on slashdot, with no ratings to tell the difference between something you should read and something you should ignore, and what do you get?: a flooding out of a sane rational commons that anyone with good intent wants to be a part of. you drive good people away, you reward the most useless sort of asshole: the destruction of slashdot

    likewise, when the lunatic asshole muslims and the lunatic asshole christians are the ones who set the news headlines aflame and drive the topic of discussion, you get the destruction of the whole fucking world: no civility, no understanding, empty useless seething emotions, until somebody sets off the powder keg. i weep for our children

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter