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[DotGNU]Religion and Free Software projects

From: Barry Fitzgerald
Subject: [DotGNU]Religion and Free Software projects
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2002 07:26:19 -0400

        So far, everyone's been fairly polite about this issue and that's a
very good thing.  However, we should come to a neutral agreement as soon
as possible because continuing this could generate ill will where, I
feel, none is intended.  Also, this could be fuel for an unnecessary
flame war.  Also, the conversation will inevitably go Off topic for this
list.  I have contributed to this as well - so this is not to chide
anyone. :)
        I think that the following policy is neutral and doesn't create undo
religious associations without taking away the rights of members of the
community to express their religious beliefs.  Religion is, obviously, a
very emotional subject, so this is important.  The policy would say:

It is OK to express religious beliefs in personal documents meant to
express a personal perspective.  This could be essays and other papers
or statements that explicitly state that they are the opinion of the
author.  However, documents designed to give the rest of the world an
idea of our united beliefs should avoid religion outright.  Simply
because it would be impossible to create a united view of religion in
the Free Software community.  There's no way that even the 4 of us who
have responded so far could express one unified perspective on our
views.  So, these things should stay out of core documents.  The only
exception I would allow is in a quote, on two conditions:  The quote is
appropriate to the subject matter and that the topic of interest from
that quote is not religious.  If the author is interested in
extrapolating on that religious aspect - it should be done in a personal
essay about DotGNU or Free Software.  

        Richard, I understand what you mean about core assumptions in a
quotation and it's a very good point.  This one's not easy, since
Curran's perspective is not the only perspective.  I think that the
quote is relevant to the document.  However, I think that the document
should be reorganized.  That's fine, it's a work in progress. :)  I'd
suggest we lay this one to rest with a diplomatic solution, otherwise
there may be unnecessary bad feelings created by this situation.

        That's the policy.  Now, on the point of the current quote.  I will
think on this some more and post when I've come to my own decision.


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