Free Speech Is More Important Than the Feelings of Terrorists

If you have not paid attention to the news today, a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was attacked by Muslim terrorists and twelve people were killed. The attack was carried out by cowards who could not bear to see Islam’s prophet Mohammed mocked in cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo. Some people have suggested that the staff of Charlie Hebdo should have been less irresponsible. Which makes me angry. So yes, I am going to rant about it.

I am really getting tired of people suggesting that when terrorists kill people the people who angered the terrorists should not have angered the terrorists. That the Muslim terrorists are such pansies that they cannot handle criticism of Islam without wanting to kill people is not the fault of anyone but the terrorists. To suggest anyone else is responsible is cowardly.

Freedom of expression is a human right, and exercising it to criticize Muslim fundamentalists is not something over which anyone should be killed. Now I know that in our Western society, many people have spent many years trying to claim that when someone is offended, the offender is the one who should be punished. So I suppose I should not be surprised that some people think that the proper reaction to the attack on Charlie Hebdo is to say that the magazine should not have been so irresponsible as to pick on Mohammed. But I am disgusted by it.

We in the Western world too often do a poor job of defending our basic human rights. Free speech is not something for which we should apologize. We should be defending it proudly to the world.

Hey, you, backwards countries that do not have legal protections for free speech, guess what? We’re better than you. We’re better than you not in spite of free speech, but because we have free speech. We have freedom. Freedom is good. Freedom makes us better, and stronger, and more moral than you. And that means we get to make fun of religious figures, like Jesus and Moses and Buddha and Mohammed. If you are so childish that you cannot handle criticism without descending to a murderous rage, that is a weakness on your part. And it is a pathetic weakness. You deserve all the ridicule you get. You should be laughed at for being immature buffoons. You think you are defending honor, but you are just showing everyone how utterly foolish, weak and childish you really are.

That is what I want to see a world leader say to terrorists. I want to see President Obama show some spine, and start defending freedom. Start pointing out how dishonorable and immature killing people over cartoons is. Explain that free speech is a human right and that protecting it is a benefit to society, not something for which anyone needs to apologize.

And where are the protesters? They can swarm the streets en masse to complain about capitalism and “white privilege”, but not to defend free speech? Where are the throngs with Mohammed cartoons on their signs, protesting to be seen by the world? Here is an opportunity to get out in the streets and march about something way more important than student loans or brunch. Here is your chance to say we will not be cowed by terrorists, to say we are proud of free speech and no terrorists will make us stop.

Free speech means freedom of expression for everyone. It is part of respecting other people as individual human beings. It is about respecting that people are not owned by religions or governments or societies. Each human being, whether or not we agree with him or her, has the right of free expression. Anyone who cannot accept that is the one with the problem.

Killing someone over speech one finds offensive is cowardly. And admission that your ideas are so fragile and stupid and indefensible that your only way to counter the offensive speech is to murder the speaker. In other words, it is an admission that your ideas are childish, stupid and worthless. But also cowardly is to argue that the murdered source of offensive speech should have not been so offensive. It legitimizes the objection of the murderer. It also implies that we should allow murderous terrorists to control what we say. And to that I say a big HELL NO! We should never allow childish, weak-minded terrorists, of any color creed or ethnicity, to have a murderous heckler’s veto on our liberty. If we let them have an effect on how we behave, it should only be to all the more proudly defend our human rights. Including the right of free speech.

Stand up for liberty. That terrorists are afraid of it should prompt us to be all the more willing to display it as a sign of our strength and excellence. Protecting free speech is always the right thing to do, and apologizing for that is ever the wrong thing to do.

The members of Charlie Hebdo who were killed should be honored as martyrs for free speech in the face of murderous terrorism. And the murderers should be condemned as cowards with no honor. For that is what they are.

And anyone who suggests Charlie Hebdo should have been “more responsible”, i.e. less offensive to the terrorists, should be publicly ridiculed for being so cowardly.

So endeth the rant. But only because if I keep going, it would start getting mean.

105 Responses to “Free Speech Is More Important Than the Feelings of Terrorists”

  1. I believe in honoring those who are heroic in speaking the truth. Change can only occur if we are intelligent in reacting to this situation in a swift and just manner. Terrorism is cowardly because it uses fear and violence to distort the truth. The pen is mightier than the sword. Evil prospers when good people refuse to do nothing. These words are truisms. Keep writing and ranting Sir. We need to be vigilant against this sickness within Islam. Thank you.

    • No Carol, it is not a a sickness “within Islam.”

      • To make my point clearer, it’s a sickness within some people who foolishly believe murder will put an end to people exercising their right to free speech not a sickness within the religion itself.

  2. You should be publicly ridiculed for being so god awfully idiotic and pathetic in your response to what is an unfortunate and immoral event. Firstly, you’ve spelt the name of the prophet wrong. It is spelt Muhammad not Mohammed. Getting the wrong spelling from an article that spelt it wrong is your first step towards exuding an ‘I am Mr Stupid’ image. But what’s more important is your take on what is categorised as freedom of speech. Publishing offensive cartoons of a religious figure who is revered and respected by a religion which takes such things seriously unlike the Christians who so often seem unbothered by the ridicule of Jesus whether it be in cartoons like Southpark or Family Guy to name two is not freedom of speech. Some of the cartoons depicted the prophet in pornographic poses. Are they asking for it? I don’t know. But to do such a thing is disrespectful and in my opinion and intentional way of poking fun and instigating “terrorists” and yes it was wrong of these gunmen to kill but you can’t label such an offensive act by the magazine as freedom of speech. That just makes you sound really stupid. You say the cowards could not bear to see their prophet ridiculed. The way they went about expressing their anger was wrong but to call them cowards is also stupid. They’re not cowards just wrong for taking the actions they did. It shows the extent their willing to go for their religion and yes it’s wrong but let’s face it it’s a slap in the face to the so called Christians who sit back and let their Lord or Son of God or Mary or whoever to be ridiculed. You say the terrorists are childish but so are the people who published those controversial cartoons knowing it would spur some level of extreme reaction. This doesn’t make the killings justified but if the terrorists are stupid so are the people of the magazine who published those cartoons. You say they deserve all the ridicule they get for being immature buffoons and allowing their anger to prompt them to such a foolish but guess what buddy you too allowed your anger to prompt you to writing such an immature thoughtless and anger fuelled rant that labelled the disrespect of a religion as freedom of speech. Hah. It’s funny what anger leads to people to huh. You probably won’t even approve this comment but even if you don’t just take some time to think about how silly your rant was. Read over it and think.

    • 1) You are probably correct that I misspelled the name, and maybe I’ll fix that. I am not sure I care enough to bother.

      2) Yes, I can label the speech by Charlie Hebdo as free speech. What you seem to fail to understand is that free speech includes speech some people find offensive. If free speech did not include that, then there would be no such thing as free speech. So yes, offensive cartoons and Nazi marches in Skokie and the like all fall under the banner of free speech. Your level of offence is not the measure of other people’s rights.

      3) Yes, the terrorists are cowards for killing someone over cartoons. To decide to kill unarmed people for publishing offensive cartoons is not courage. It is not a sign of strength or honor. It is cowardice. Only cowards decide the appropriate response to offensive speech is to silence the offending speaker. And only the worst kind of cowards decide the appropriate response to offensive speech is to murder the offending speaker.

      4) The staff of Charlie Hebdo are not cowards or childish. They were courageous in their satiric criticism of religions and politics of all sorts. Knowing that there are murderous cowards who might try to kill you for publishing cartoons they do not like and publishing them anyway is not an act of fear. It is an act of courage. Refusing to bow down to the murderous threats of terrorists is strong, mature and courageous.

      5) No, the cowardly actions of murderous Muslim terrorists is not a slap in the face of Christians who do not go about killing people who make fun of Christianity. That Christians see no need to murder when their religious icons are satirized is not a weakness. It is a sign of strength that their faith is not so fragile as to need to silence its critics by means murderous or otherwise.

      6) I know your chastisement was an attempt to shame me, but your argument is a confused and callow mess. You have spit into the wind.

      • I never said Christians should kill those who ridicule them. They should honour and respect their religion more by not laughing with those who ridicule them and certainly not join in too. The terrorists were wrong but what freedom of speech or political message is being displayed in pornographic depiction of a respected religious figure?? What’s the point in that? You’re still stupid. You’re repeating the silly points you made in your silly rant and I can’t make you see that you’re being really foolish to still claim this disrespect and blatant mockery as freedom of speech. Being angry because someone ridiculed something you spend your life devoting yourself to isn’t wrong. It’s appropriate and what any person who calls themself a member of a religion should do. To kill however is wrong. To be angry is justified and this anger should have been expressed differently. But to kill is wrong and those people were wrong to have killed. At the end of the day both parties are wrong and you’re still stupid.

        • To claim that disrespectful speech cannot be free speech is ignorant. Being angry because someone makes fun of one’s chosen religion is childish.

          • Do you read what I write? Or are you so thick it doesn’t seem to register? I repeat for the final time the depiction of the prophet in pornograjgic poses is nothing to do with political freedom of speech or whatever. Of course you think it’s childish. You don’t know let alone relate to love or true reverence for ones religion and the figures in the religion. So you assume this anger is childish. And that’s understandable because you don’t possess the ardent devotion those Muslims do though it was expressed wrongly. I’m done. You seem to get sillier and nonsensical the more you reply to my comments.

          • Absurd as your comments have been, yes I have read them. That you continue to repeat an assertion you have not supported with anything resembling reasoned argument means it will continue to be not persuasive. You know nothing of how I relate to devotion and reverence for one’s religion. And I say all that to point out that the one getting sillier and more nonsensical is you.

  3. Jason,
    An American believes in freedom of speech. A person can express it as long as it isn’t libel or slander. The courts decide if it is beyond our Constitutional rights. We are free to criticize religions, government officials, our leaders and public figures. We even protect the rights of vile people whose ideologies sickens us. Freedom of Speech means that we can express our opinions without threat of imprisonment or death sentences by our government. What happened in Paris was murder. The people hid behind masks.They didn’t target an enemy. They killed 12 people. It was a terrorist act. They hide behind religious dogma to perpetuate hatred. That is an act of cowardice. Xajow’s point is that there are other ways to fight back without resorting to murder. Violence is stupid. Extremes in any religion only negates the true message of the peaceful messenger.

  4. Xajow, maybe a more intelligent rant would have been centred on the fact that we must respect all religions but also respect human life. What you seem to go by lies towards immature with the acceptance and what is actually urging of disrespect to another’s religion. Your saying that they deserve all the ridicule they get defeats the whole message behind your post if it be an intelligent one. Carol has put it better and kindly added something you haven’t mentioned as a way to save you so to speak. It was sweet of her to say you wanted to say there are other ways to fight back without resorting to murder: something not you but Jason mentioned. Even so, this rant was meh.

    • I never said all religions deserve ridicule. I never urged anyone to disrespect another’s religion. And frankly, that there are other ways besides murder to react to ridicule of one’s religion should be obvious without me having to say it. That I think murder was the wrong way for the cowardly terrorists to react should also have been obvious from my condemnation of the cowardly terrorists for their murdering people. So even though you seem to now be referring to yourself in the third person, Jason, your objections to my rant are still callow and not persuasive.

  5. These are the same sick group that attempted to murder a young girl that spoke up for a girls right to a education. People around the world should and i pray prepare for any extremist attempting to change others/societies to their twisted way of living. It is one thing if a person wants/needs submission and another when thousands are forced into it.

  6. Well at least there was a dialogue which is what should have happened in the first place. Jason #1, the pink one, really didn’t get what I was saying. He actually tried to dismiss me in his reply. That was disrespectful. I am not Xajow’s submissive just someone who is trying to grow and learn. Jason #2, the blue one, did get the gist of what I was saying. Thank you for having an open mind.

    • I am pretty sure both Jasons are the same Jason. Someone is likely being playful with intent to deceive.

      • Aha no, I mistakenly entered my name as Jason. As you can see from my email Xajow, my name isn’t Jason. Being playful with intent to decieve. Hm. I can’t quite say I know what you’re getting at nor do I know what you mean. My name is now in this post. I’m not Jason. This doesn’t matter anyway. I simply wanted to put my point across and support what I believed to be the stronger argument.

        • Sure. I totally believe you now.

          • There is freedom of speech and then there is blasphemy. If you say anything to ridicule Jews you are considered anti-Semitic, ridicule gay people and you are homophobic, but when it comes to Islam, let’s allow Xajow here to label the ridicule as freedom of speech. Great going. What a smart guy. What’s worse is sticking to your idiotic argument. I don’t know if this is out of pride or sheer stupidity.

          • You are misrepresenting what I have said. But for the record, anti-Semitic speech and homophobic speech also fall under the heading of free speech. Anyway, Jason, at least I have an argument to make. All you seem to have is whining about people who do not endorse your childish outbursts.

          • Oh, and yes, blasphemy too should be free speech.

          • Funny how you had nothing of substance to say to my point just childishly pointed out that you at least have an argument and I’m whining. Hah. You’re embarrassing yourself. I’ll stop myself from replying to save you the embarrassment.

          • You do not need to pretend to do me a favor to cover your running away with your tail between your legs. Just go away. Come back when you have an actual argument to make.

  7. Run away with my tail between my legs? Your replies prompt me to comment so that’s one thing you’re good at. Coming out with a good justifiable comeback? Not so much. Being idiotic? Your forte. Immature for a grown man? I’d say so. So far you haven’t replied with an appropriate response to my previous comment. Because you know you have none. Coming out with silly little tail between the legs, put your big boy pants on comments only make you look like a silly kid arguing. I know you’re not a kid. I guess I still am due to age but you have no excuse at all to be so immature and stupid at what I’m assuming is an advanced age. If you’re gonna reply to this why don’t you come up with a real reply not lame comebacks that sound like what 60 year olds use. If you’re gonna be mean, do it right. I can’t count on you to argue the right way but I’m hoping you get better at the comebacks. I have no reason to run. My arguments are strong and there’s another person who said she doesn’t agree with you on your latest post. Carol agreed with jordan who agreed with me. Hope to see a better reply from you or none at all.

    • You have not provided even a single substantive argument either in support of your own positions or in contradiction of mine. Apparently you think making unsupported assertions and using the ad hominem fallacy qualifies as strong arguments.

      As for your comment about anti-Semitic speech and homophobic speech, I directly replied to that. You ignored it.

      No, I do not talk or make “comebacks” like you, nor would I want to. You come across as emotionally insecure, ignorant and immature.

      When you have something of substance to say, let me know.

  8. I do agree with the majority of your statement but as humans we also need to protect one’s self. I found it written as ” If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.” as you said speech combats speech: BUT with that freedom comes the relevant repercussions. Which means that if you’re thinking of putting yourself out there….. prepare for repercussions. Like in a movie I just saw you don’t walk down harlem with a sign that says “I hate niggars” ( Die Hard 3) Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing.

    • Murder is never a relevant response to speech. And blaming the victim is not appropriate. The murder victims are not the parties at fault for the murders.

    • This is true and another point you’re failing to take into account due to your blind harping of free speech. These people dished something out that they knew would have violent repercussions given the history of such things yet they done so anyway. Let’s call it free speech for arguments sake! And now they’re dead. It is sad. It is bad. But in the end it’s a consequence they had to face and like Amelia said there are repurcuddions. Play with fire and you’ll get burned.

  9. I am not blaming them at all. I believe that a person should have self preservation. Like more security or not having where they are printing their papers. (just simple ideas) It may sound like hiding I’m not sure lol They had previous problems and still continued which i think they should and glad they did.

    • True, it would have been good for the Charlie Hebdo offices to have more security, but that is a separate political issue. And I am not well versed enough in French politics to comment upon it.

  10. Well if other’s pick up where they left off, they need to rethink how to protect themselves. I don’t think that is politics at all though. That is a business security issue. But i saw a link about anonymous and they are upset and say they will find them and destroy them through internet for what they did in France.

    • I hope you mean that Anonymous intends to go after the terrorists. Anyway, as I understand it France has not been great on protecting the right of the individual to self-defense. And I doubt this attack alone will change that.

  11. iamirish7511 Says:

    yes lol sorry it was a long night at work. They are going after the terrorists.

  12. I once read a book lol
    “The threat or fear of violence should not become an excuse or justification for restricting freedom of speech.”
    Freedom to express VERBALLY our feelings thoughts and opinions are our rights.
    If one doesn’t agree or approve then so be it.
    Verbally express your thoughts opinions feelings to the contrary or indeed ignore and simply move on.
    Its how we grow interlectually and empathically.
    Believe me the bigotted terrorists who did this have their own literature circulating here that could be seen as deeply offensive to non
    Muslims. I have seen it, read it and I have moved on.
    Yes I was mildly offended. But I learned something from it. Its only words and words
    dont kill.
    We can’t say “well yes you DO have freedom of speech but heres a few caveats.”
    1. Dont upset anyone.
    2. Dont be contentious.
    3. Dont say my arse is big! Ha ha.
    Its called FREEDOM of speech for a reason.
    seriously.. I meant it about saying my arse is big 🙂

  13. Freedom of speech doesnt allow you to insult other ppl faith.
    Why these ppl insulting someone who billion ppl love? they dont attack on bad behaviours of some ppl, they attack someone who is loved by more than a half planet, is that correct? Nobody says if that happens anyone has right to kill, but we dont have to support such insults. Freedom of speech is not about insulting or mofing on others faith. You can have your opinion, lets be educated and share it in proper way. This is not the way…

    • I disagree. Freedom of speech does allow insulting other people’s faith. People insult Christianity all the time. That is absolutely allowed. And though I might be offended and argue against the insult itself, I absolutely support the right of people to speak freely.

  14. Actually Tania freedom of speech does allow insulting others or ie their faith. What is not allowed is defamation or slander, hate speech, fighting words to provoke a physical fight and many others that are to long to list. (general commentary on political, religious, or social matters may not be punished, even if some people are so upset by it that they want to attack the speaker.) Remember to not react is also a action.
    “Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.”

  15. Also to quote Obama who said “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” May I say the reasons and judgement behind this should be obvious to any persons of reasonable intelligence.

    • Just because some principle allows something, it does not always make everything that falls under that banner right, okay.

    • Actually, no. The future must not belong to those who use religion, including Islam, to stifle the freedom of others, including the freedom of speech. The reasons and judgement behind that should be obvious to any persons of reasonable intelligence.

  16. Shania Says:

    Any persons of reasonable intelligence will consider both sides of an argument. “No one is easier to fool than the man who is convinced that he is right.” The future must not belong to either the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists nor those who kill under the name of religion. If someone publishes cartoons mocking black people, or uses a racist phrase to refer to a black person, will we call that person “brave” for exercising such freedom of speech? It is still freedom of speech, yes. But this does not make it right and it is an example of someone using that freedom of speech in the wrong way. You should be allowed to do it, by all means but when people criticise such slander, racism, mockery whether it be of a religious figure, religion or race they are not wrong for condemning it. They are not saying they support murder for the exercise of freedom of speech. They are just acknowledging that there are certain kinds of freedom of speech which are offensive, wrong, and racist and slanderous.

    • Shania Says:

      You need to have a little think and recognise that just because someone acknowledges the offensive or racist nature of the exercise of freedom of speech in whatever form it comes in cartoon or otherwise, does not mean that person is in favour of the restriction of freedom of speech. Or that they condone such restriction by means of murder, it is just that, acknowledgement and recognition so please give that a little consideration. There are two sides to everything, failing to acknowledge that and to see it from an objective point of view will make you narrow minded and hateful.

      • Shania Says:

        Though I grant that what makes you quick to become agitated with anyone acknowledging that the cartoons were offensive and inappropriately disrespectful (remember the pornographic one) is the fact that people died in the aftermath. That’s fair but again, not everyone who acknowledges the insulting nature of the cartoons is saying the cartoonists deserved death or even should not be allowed to publish such a thing. You really do not consider this little possibility do you. You’re too biased. But God am I bad at getting all my thoughts together in one comment.

        • Actually, yes, the future should belong to people like the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. Which is to say, to people who are not going to give in to the terrorists’ veto; people who, when threatened with death, still do what they believe is the right thing to do. No one here is arguing against criticizing speech you don’t like. The answer to speech you don’t like is more speech that you do like. Not murder. Not censorship.

          And yes, I do know that one can object to the cartoons and not support the murder of the cartoonists. But anyone whose argument is little more than “murder is wrong, but those cartoonists should have known better than to have made those cartoons,” is basically justifying the murders. Instead of “murder is wrong, but…” we should be arguing, “the cartoons might be insulting, but that is never a justification for murder.” The terrorists are the ones deserving of condemnation, not the cartoonists. Cartoons, however insulting or mean, are not “using free speech the wrong way.” But killing with intent to silence speech is.

          • Uh what.. “people who still do what they believe is the right thing to do” why are you phrasing this in such a way that completely ignores the nature of the cartoons, almost as if the cartoonists were illustrating some sort of moral or political message that the world as a whole had to stand up for and champion, it was just cartoons. That is exactly what I said also, the answer is not murder or censorship. I also did not say the cartoonists should have known better than to…

            The first part of your second paragraph is exactly the point I was trying to get across. Though you didn’t answer my question. We don’t label all kinds of free speech as “brave” so why this kind? Isn’t the white person who calls a black person by the N word and publishes cartoons mocking them brave too? No? or Yes? Double standards always. Racism and slander is using free speech the wrong way. Imagine if people were constantly printing mocking cartoons of black people, Muslims, Christians Jews, ethnic minorities, certain religious figures or religions as a whole, what sort of a future would that be? One where free speech is exercised but what about the hatred, resentment and offence it would breed between people. That is why Obama said the future should not belong to the cartoonists and he also acknowledged that the murders were evil. As much as you may want or like a world where free speech is exercised without it instigating hate and resentment unfortunately we don’t live in such a world. Unfortunately such things create conflicts between people which is exactly why the future should not belong to those who slander any religion, race or belief.

          • I phrased it that way because that is what happened. They had received death threats and they had their offices attacked once before. And they were not cowed by the terrorists. They continued with what they believed was the right thing to do, which is making satirical fun of politicians and religious figures. However insulting you think their cartoons were, they did not capitulate to terrorists who threatened their lives repeatedly. That takes courage. You can ignore that and try to equate the Charlie Hebdo cartoons to racism (which they were not) but I will not ignore it.

            What about the hatred, resentment and offence free speech we don’t like breeds? Um, no. Immaturity on the part of some people who look for reasons to be offended does not impose obligations on others to not offend. I do not have to like how someone else uses their freedom of speech to defend it as their basic human right. We would get much farther in making society better if we spent less time worrying about how not to offend people and more time learning not to be offended.

  17. Just as equally, free speech should not be restricted by any means. Though again, this does not mean every person who chooses to exercise this right does so with some noble intent behind it, or does so in the right way, or isn’t a racist or horrible person. And even if they are racist and horrible no one should deserve to die for exercising their right to free speech, however racist or insulting or mean. And just like that the future should not belong to the racist and the slanderous folk.

    • Shania Says:

      I’m not sure your approach to this is all too realistic. There is no such thing as “learning” not to be offended in certain situations. Offence is taken where offence is due and religion is a terribly sensitive topic. We’re human and we’re all sensitive whether we like to show it or not. Yeah, those killers showed it and they did so in the wrong way.The real learning should come with learning not to let it drive you to inappropriate behaviour. If I insult your loved one and pose the argument that frankly I don’t care whether you’re offended, will you automatically through your years, days, weeks, months of learning to not be offended end up not being offended? Is this something we actually control? You control telling yourself that you won’t let that offend you. But if you have to tell yourself that then you’re already offended to a degree. Let’s be realistic. The only thing you can control is your actions and whether you act on your emotions when I offend you.

      And as a Christian one is supposed to put God above all else, yet most would probably feel more offence if someone insults their loved one than if someone were to insult God. And if you don’t feel offended, as a Christian, when someone insults Jesus or mocks God or any part of your faith then there’s something wrong with you. And if you don’t feel upset that someone mocked your loved one or your God, depicted Jesus in an insolent cartoon then you’re a robot. Or you suffer from an extreme level of apathy. No one should be roused with such extreme anger that leads to murder but not being offended or upset at all no matter how well you’ve “learned” not to be offended is impossible if you care about your faith or loved one for that matter if we’re going with the example.

      • Why should I, as a Christian, be offended when someone insults Jesus? Why must I be offended if someone mocks Christianity? That person is rejecting God, not me. My faith is not injured by someone else rejecting God. It is not apathy that tempers my response to such things, but maturity and perspective.

        Am I never offended? No. I am not perfect. But yes, one can learn to act like an adult, even when confronted by insults to oneself, one’s loved ones, and even one’s faith. No, it does not require being a robot. It just requires a willingness to learn and mature.

        • That’s what she said but your incessant fixation on free speech is causing you to turn a blind eye to the bigger picture. And while you’re upholding what is a fundamental right with such a lax approach its making you disregard and undermine the importance and value of respect for each other as individuals. To add to that in the process you’re subverting certain Christian values.

          • The free speech issue is not whether or not we should say deliberately offensive things. The free speech issue is whether people have a right to speak their mind. They do. And yes, that means even people who deliberately say offensive things have the right to speak their mind. That includes people who draw Muhammad, people who burn the U.S. flag, people who take photos of crucifixes dunked in urine, people who complain about the U.S. government, and on and on.

            “We have the right to say offensive things in a democracy but should we?” Yes, we should. Because there is always someone who is offended. If we went about trying to never offend anyone ever and eliminate all offence, there would be no progress and no freedom. The American revolutionaries who were responsible for the Declaration of Independence offended people. The abolitionists offended people. The suffragettes offended people. Civil rights leaders of the 1960s offended people. Gay rights advocates have and do offend people. So should we say offensive things? Yes, you’re damn right we should.

            Does that excuse the speech of racists and hatemongers? Of course not. But they are not lesser human beings than the rest of us. They have the same rights as the rest of us, and I would rather they speak up so we can know who they are and counter their ideas with better ideas and better speech. The free exchange of ideas makes society better.

            That is the bigger picture, and I am not the one turning a blind eye to it.

            Love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Is defending the rights of others that I want them to respect for me subverting Christian values? It is not.

          • Charlie Hebdo honored in New York

            Drawings of the founder of Islam were also at the heart of the January attack on Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices that killed 12 people. Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen claimed responsibility, saying the weekly’s cartoons had insulted the Prophet.

            “Charlie Hebdo’s current staff have persisted, and tonight’s award reflects their refusal to accept the curtailment of lawful speech through violence,” PEN President Andrew Solomon told the gala, filled with literary figures.

            Accepting the award, Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard said the most powerful weapon of religious extremists is fear and “we must disarm them.”

            “They don’t want us to write and draw. We must write and draw,” he said. “They don’t want us to think and laugh. We must think and laugh. They don’t want us to debate. We must debate.

            “Being here tonight, we contribute to disarming them,” he said.

        • lewdishJuliet Says:

          free will. you have free will, meaning you can cheat on your partner if you want so should we? if everyone spent less time worrying about how not to offend others we’d all be going around mocking and insulting everyone and everything including the outdated garbage in the so called word of God people refer to as the Bible. the world is flat. insects have four legs and yeah i’ll pull out quotes for anyone that needs them and fear not peeps there’s plenty more where that came from. and if you pull that OH BUT THAT WAS THE OOOOLLLLDDD TESTAMENT shit then you need something and it’s not God. and while i’m at this couldn’t care enough to worry about how not to offend others approach all those who’ve gone out and learned to not be offended won’t be so it’s okay. and since they’re not offended they’ll point me to where they teach those classes, i’ll be the cute girl in the front row, taking notes and making sure i pass and learn this seemingly undiscovered art of not being offended because that clearly doesn’t go against human nature and is something you can learn. who woulda known. i certainly didn’t until xajow here enlightened us. perhaps you could teach me, sirrr. if you’re gonna say i’ll teach you to use capital letters then refrain, i couldn’t care enough to use em. maybe you could teach me to care a little more. i dunno, teach me to be more respectful and considerate of others feelings but nah you wouldn’t because you believe society would go farther if we spent less time worrying about how not to offend others. this is the least time I’ve ever spent not worrying about how not to offend others. whaddya think? is it appropriate or would i get detention for this?

          • lewdishJuliet Says:

            or worse yet. would i get hell? *gasp*

          • Why ask me? I have no idea. I am not the One who makes that decision.

          • “if everyone spent less time worrying about how not to offend others we’d all be going around mocking and insulting everyone and everything including the outdated garbage in the so called word of God people refer to as the Bible.” Wow. What a low opinion you have of humans. I do not spend much time worrying about offending others, and I do not go around mocking and insulting everyone and everything. I actually try to treat other people with respect.

            As for your attempt to denigrate the Bible, I could find you far worse quotes than that. So what?

            As for where they teach classes about learning not to be offended, they all happen at this new place called the School of Life. The beginning classes are called Maturity 101. The text for the class is titled “Thicker Skin: What It Means and How to Get It.” Would you get detention? Nah. You would just be used to help the other students.

            Here is a lesson for free. You seem to have confused being respectful with being inoffensive. While one might choose to be inoffensive out of respect, the two are not the same thing. Sometimes being inoffensive is the least respectful thing one can do. It all depends on who you think deserves your respect. If I respect my fellow human beings, being offensive to the human beings who would infringe on the rights of other humans might be the right choice. I am not worried about offending racists and authoritarians. But I still respect their rights as human beings. And if I remain inoffensive to them, then I have not acted with respect for the humans whose rights they would trample. So clearly being respectful and being inoffensive are not the same thing. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

          • If I was a girl I reckon I’d be just like you. Aware that the Bible is garbage and that anger filled posts usually turn out messier than you intended.

          • lewdishJuliet Says:

            look, i read this “we would get much farther in making society better if we spent less time worrying about how not to offend people and more time learning not to be offended” and it made me roll my eyes so hard they nearly got stuck like that mid roll. i wasn’t trying to criticize the Bible. i was stating the obvious. as for those classes i’m skipping them because you can thicken my skin all you want if something is offensive i will feel offended because i’m a human beeeiiiiinnnngggg. do you think God will let me burn in hell? if you call the Bible the word of God then you’re not giving God much credit are you, considering all that is in there.

          • “if something is offensive i will feel offended because i’m a human beeeiiiiinnnngggg.” You can also choose to mature and become less offendable because you are a huuuuummmaaaaaan being.

            “if you call the Bible the word of God then you’re not giving God much credit are you, considering all that is in there.” Or maybe I am trusting God that the Bible is exactly what it needs to be.

          • lewdishJuliet Says:

            i’d like to know how to become “less offendable.” what does that even mean? enlighten me puh-lease. “or maybe I am trusting God that the Bible is exactly what it needs to be.” what does that mean? you really think i’m going to hell don’t you. oh boy.

          • Less offendable. It means exactly what it says. Reduced inclination to be offended. How do you achieve that? Pursue wisdom, gain perspective and mature as person.

            What does “trusting God that the Bible is exactly what it needs to be” mean? It means what it says.

            Why do you ask me again if I think you’re going to hell? I already told you, I don’t know. I have no idea. Why do you care?

          • lewdishJuliet Says:

            well now i wonder what it’d be like if my professors answered my questions about certain sentences in certain texts with “it means what it says.” i mean, if they did that it’d totally make sense afterwards, best way to elaborate a vague point, yup.

            being mature and wise does not make you immune to offensive insults or mocking. being mature and wise does not mean you will simply feel “disappointed” when someone decides to insult your faith or anything and anyone else you care about. naturally, you will feel hurt. the mature person has good manners, which means they won’t act vengefully. the wise person will know that acting vengefully is not the right thing to do. being mature and wise has nothing to do with a reduced inclination to be offended. being mature and wise pertains to the way one reacts to disrespect, not the way one feels about that disrespect. in other words, maturity and wisdom does not influence your feelings. it influences your actions.

            i’m asking whether you think i’m going to hell because i wanted to know whether you really believe in a pit of fire where people burn for eternity or a few years or whatever because they chose not to believe in the Bible.

          • You wonder what it would be like if your professors expected you to understand English? Huh.

            Anyway, so you think wisdom and maturity in no way would or could influence one’s emotions. At best, according to you, it only could help one be more polite. Wisdom and maturity could never teach one the futility of being offended by various things, or that one’s emotions can be controlled by how one thinks. According to you, this is totally impossible. Well, I will share my initial response to your assertion: Bah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Here is a small clue: look up stoicism.

            If you want to know if I believe in a literal hell that is a pit of fire, why didn’t you just ask me that in the first place? My answer is that the Bible is actually unclear about the concept of hell, and so therefore I do not know what hell is, or if it even exists in any way remotely resembling the way it is portrayed in mainstream Christian thinking. The Bible does not mention hell as hell, and early Judaism had no concept of hell. A lot of what we think we know about hell is speculation based on very little information (kinda like what we tend to think we know about heaven). So I have not concerned myself with pondering hell or who might end up there. I believe the Bible is far more concerned with teaching us how to live in the present than with teaching us about an afterlife.

  18. research does say that their is a high chance at misreading another s feelings via text vs face to face. Xajow is there anything in particular you think or do differently here than face to face to prevent that?

  19. Pamela Geller is an example of a racist American trying to spew hatred between the masses with her right to free speech like the advertisements in New York she put up with the false claim that murdering Jews is a mandatory obligation for Muslims. Thank goodness it was banned. If you argue Muslims should not be offended by cartoons hell they are justified in their offence at such falsity. A cartoon drawing contest. When I heard it I thought it was a joke. And when your intention is provocation then the concept of individual responsibility for ones actions comes in. We have the right to say offensive things in a democracy but should we? Spending less time worrying about how not to offend people, well geez if everyone ran their mouth under the name of free speech we sure as hell would not get far, not with such a self-destructive and unchristian approach.

    • You seem to be assuming that less time is no time, and that the Christian approach is to allow everyone else to determine what one is allowed to say. As best as I can determine, neither Jesus nor His disciples were over concerned about offending people. Jesus said some pretty mean things about the Jewish religious leaders during His earthly ministry. And He did things that at the time were awfully provocative, like clearing out the money lenders from the temple grounds and healing people on the Sabbath and eating with tax-collectors and letting sinners wash His feet. And the apostles, when confronted by those who wanted to silence them, basically said that they would continue to preach the Gospel regardless of who was offended. Many of them even were killed because they would not stop. Seems to me that in the Christian approach offending people with speech is less of a problem than is being offended.

      So yes, if we spent less (note the word is less not no or none) time worrying about offending people and more time learning the lessons Jesus taught us about not being offended, we would get further in making society better.

  20. Change of icon it seems. But hey it’s still pink.

    • No, it’s decided to be green now. I was actually told not to comment here anymore by a friend of mine. And I’m reminding myself of her by multiple commenting like this and Juliet (the lewdish) one reminds me of her too. What are all these young hooligans doing on your blog blah blah what the hell is it that makes you “so what?” the fact that the Bible is bullshhhhh you know rest. You’re basing your life on that bullshhhhh yeah you know what I’m trying to say.

      • No. What makes me say “so what” is that I am not offended by attempts to insult the Bible. Perhaps your faith is so weak and shallow that a few insults to what you believe would leave you deeply offended, but mine is not.

        I confess I am amused by watching you folks who seem so sure that any insult to one’s faith must be deeply offensive be the ones offended by my lack of taking offence.

        • I don’t have a faith, YET. And I’d rather die than go for a belief system based on the Bible with all its shenanigans. I’m referring to you so what-ing the fact that the Bible has basic mistakes in it and you said you can pull worse out so at least you’re not denying it but you seem to be okay with such basic mistakes in your Bible which is better than denial. How then can you still choose to believe in a book like that? It leaves many questions unanswered. Or you think the other preachy love others stuff in there compensates for the inconsistencies and scientific mistakes? You don’t gotta put down taking offence like a human would when something one honours and carries with pride is attacked. Just because you personally don’t feel that way doesn’t make those who do immature or weak. That’s immaturity on your part to think like that and it’s weak argument too.

          • I don’t put down taking offence. I put down the notion that taking offence is the only “human” response. And if it is such a weak argument, how come the best you and the others can do to counter is long winded versions of “it is so, you big meanie”?

            How can I believe in a religious book that is not a scientific text book and not an answer to every question? Because I don’t need it to be those things.

      • lewdishJuliet Says:

        wait, i remind you of whom? i read your comments on this post and yours are far more messier than mine. it was clear you weren’t spending any time on worrying how not to offend others.

        • Did I ask you anything about it having to be a scientific textbook? No. Did I say it had to be an answer to “every question”? Oh look, the answer to that too is a no. I did not. Have you thought how you know it’s the right thing to follow or base your entire life on when a huge chunk of it is so inaccurate and inconsistent? This technique you have of introducing a flimsy point and then justifying and gradually building it up using the help of other people’s stronger counterpoints is a good one. Because in the end you make yourself look like you’ve been trying to get that point across all along when you actually haven’t been doing that. You said to Shania that she essentially done what she accused you of doing in terms of ignoring chunks of a persons argument. Well your technique must’ve rubbed off on her. I don’t know if you forget what you read but it’s beyond me how after all the comments here touching on various issues you can narrow everything down to this: “You are all complaining that the problem was that the cartoons were mean, and that is not nice, so therefore the cartoonists were wrong to print the cartoons.” You’re obviously not that stupid, come on.

          • “Did I ask you anything about it having to be a scientific textbook? No. Did I say it had to be an answer to ‘every question’? Oh look, the answer to that too is a no.” You brought up scientific mistakes as a criticism. And as a criticism of the Bible you said, “It leaves many questions unanswered.” My reply expressed that I don’t need it to be scientifically accurate or to answer every question.

            “This technique you have of introducing a flimsy point” This technique you, and others, have of claiming my points are flimsy when you seem barely able to muster up a counterargument, and none of any substance, is a poor one. Try actually refuting my arguments. Just calling them flimsy does not make you correct.

            “I don’t know if you forget what you read but it’s beyond me how after all the comments here touching on various issues you can narrow everything down to this: ‘You are all complaining that the problem was that the cartoons were mean, and that is not nice, so therefore the cartoonists were wrong to print the cartoons.'” Because that is basically the whole of the argument against the cartoons. People were killed over some lines on paper, and you want to focus on, “but the Muslims were offended,” as if that is the only part of the issue that matters. Cartoonists, who made fun of just about everyone, were killed, and you keep going back to, “but the cartoons were mean to the Muslims,” as if that some how trumps the rights of the cartoonists who were killed. Freedom of speech has to protect offensive speech or it is is not freedom of speech, and rather than address that point, you just keep going back to, “but the cartoons insulted Islam,” as if that is the single, fundamental heart of the problem when it so wholly and completely is not. Basically, you all have one argument: the problem was that the cartoons were mean, and that is not nice, so therefore the cartoonists were wrong to print the cartoons. That I can see through all the fluff you use to try to prop up your argument is not something for which I will apologize.

          • Everyone here seems to be on the same page now. Everyone supports freedom of speech, no one here wants this right taken way or censored because it’s a necessary freedom. We all know that. Where it all got a little confusing was when you said what you did about taking offence and the rest of it so I think they got the impression you were supporting racist speech which you are because it’s still free speech and we’ll know who the racists are hurray. And then your idea that people are immature for being offended boooo and where you got confused was when they mentioned Christianity and the importance of respecting others so you apparently, took this to indicate that they want free speech censored which no one here does, it’s just understanding how a necessary freedom can cause disruption in society as well as between people when some individuals don’t recognise the power of free speech and who don’t have a “self-aware relationship” with it. This is what Lucie put forward and it’s not a you’re a big meanie for supporting offensive speech argument. Just because you can be offensive and racist doesn’t mean you should. That’s the argument.

            And since you clearly need to be shown how you’ve agreed with the others.

            What Shania said:

            “…free speech should not be restricted by any means. Though again, this does not mean every person who chooses to exercise this right does so with some noble intent behind it, or does so in the right way, or isn’t a racist or horrible person. And even if they are racist and horrible no one should deserve to die for exercising their right to free speech, however racist or insulting or mean.”

            No, she was not just saying “I support freedom of speech but…”

            What you said:

            “Freedom of speech means sometimes the offensive speech get protected too. Because bigoted people are still people, still human beings with the same rights as those of us who despise racism and bigotry.”

            Essentially the same thing.

          • No, they are not essentially the same thing. Shania’s argument also included an assertion that speech we don’t like is the wrong way to use free speech, and that we cannot allow the future to belong to people who dare insult another’s faith, i.e. use speech the wrong way. My argument included that we don’t get to determine the wrong way to use free speech outside of protecting other people’s rights, and that we should encourage people to be more like the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, i.e. not being cowed by death threats from cowardly terrorists. So no, we are not on the same page and not saying the same thing. And actually, my disagreement with Shania started when she defended another commenter’s assertion that freedom of speech does not allow for the insulting of other people’s faith.

        • Let’s just say Xajow and I wouldn’t be the best of friends if we knew each other. You don’t really remind me of her. Well kinda. It was your little scenario on going to those learn how not to be offended classes. And that eye rolling comment sheesh. Wish I had another Amelia, I’m greedy. Sometimes a guy gets greedy. Especially when you want to occupy the time she’s spending with someone else. Yeah, I’m sulking. Boo hoo.

          • Confused but are you referring to me Jason???

          • lewdishJuliet Says:

            oh i feel you. it’s cute how you put it. or maybe it just seems cuter when this kinda thing comes from the cold, asshole-ish mean guys but then again girls seem to chase those ones. maybe you should tell her. but add the “yeah, i’m sulking boo hoo” bit too because you don’t want her responding with boo hoo for you. that would bite.

          • No Ms Campbell, (or Mrs because you never know right) you are not the Amelia I’m referring to. I don’t know you.

          • You know what, nah, it’s immature to expect your friend to do something about your jealousy. Or possessiveness towards her. I don’t care when it comes to my other girl friends but I don’t know, she’s my favourite girl so it’s a little different. Plus he has more of a right on her time than I do. At least that’s how I’d feel if I was seeing a girl and one of her male friends was a little jealous about it. “Cold, asshole-ish mean guys” well that’s putting me in a labelled box. But I see your point. They say nice guys finish last, though.

  21. From Reappropriate’s blog, couldn’t have said it better myself:

    “All of us have the right to free speech. Not all of us enjoy the privilege of irresponsible speech.

    So, #JeSuisCharlie because I support free speech unrestricted by state and federal law. Yet it is also true that #JeNeSuisPasCharlie. My speech is not — has never been — elevated as a right prioritized above all other concerns. I do not know what it’s like to be able to interpret the First Amendment as a license to asshole, unconcerned with the damage my words might cause to others. For me, free speech has always been the right to expression unrestricted by law, but necessarily governed by self-responsibility.

    Further, I can’t help but wonder if, perhaps this more self-aware relationship with free speech should be our standard. Perhaps it’s time to consider that just because we have the right to be raging (racist) assholes towards one another does not mean that we should aggressively exercise that right whenever possible, and sometimes with deliberate intent to offend and oppress marginalized groups. Perhaps it’s time to consider not just the importance of our First Amendment rights, but also the powerful impact that right has on others. Perhaps we should prioritize focusing not just on expressing ourselves as loudly as possible, but also in building dialogue over the ideas contained within.

    I fervently believe in the right to free speech; but I also respect the power of that right, too. In the last week, we’ve seen a lot of defense over the right to free speech. Yet we’ve also had very little conversation that respects the spirit of why that right exists in the first place: to amplify the voices of those historically disenfranchised and outside the mainstream in the pursuit of more respectful and open dialogue.

    And honestly, I don’t think it’s too radical to suggest that what we all need right now — in the wake of so much heartbreaking hatred and death — is more respect.”

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Xajow. This is from a person’s viewpoint who is actually looking at the wider, greater picture and considering what you seem to be giving a lot of disregard: respecting others.

    • Duh. Of course freedom of speech is not a right elevated above all other concerns. No one here is arguing that it is. It is amusing that you keep trying to give me grief over supposedly not seeing the bigger picture while you miss it yourself. No one is arguing against respecting others. I am, in point of fact, the one arguing for respecting others, including those with whom we disagree. You seem to think respecting other people means never offending them. Which is a fearful and narrow perspective that ignores the good done by people who were willing to be offend.

      Since you seem to have missed another comment I made, I will repeat part of it for you.

      “We have the right to say offensive things in a democracy but should we?” Yes, we should. Because there is always someone who is offended. If we went about trying to never offend anyone ever and eliminate all offence, there would be no progress and no freedom. The American revolutionaries who were responsible for the Declaration of Independence offended people. The abolitionists offended people. The suffragettes offended people. Civil rights leaders of the 1960s offended people. Gay rights advocates have and do offend people. So should we say offensive things? Yes, you’re damn right we should.

      Does that excuse the speech of racists and hatemongers? Of course not. But they are not lesser human beings than the rest of us. They have the same rights as the rest of us, and I would rather they speak up so we can know who they are and counter their ideas with better ideas and better speech. The free exchange of ideas makes society better.

      That is the bigger picture, and I am not the one turning a blind eye to it.

  22. May I also ask since you say you won’t feel offence if someone insults or disrespects your faith or a loved one in response to another commenter, what emotion do you feel then if you don’t feel offence? Amusement? Apathy? You’re not sure yet? If you’re going to retort with “sympathy for the person trying to insult” then please no, an honest response would be better.

    • First of all, you don’t get to decide for me what my honest response is. Though that you think you do in the middle of a discussion of free speech is amusing. My reaction depends on the situation. In general, I tend to feel disappointment that someone decided to be insulting and rude rather than conduct themselves like an adult.

  23. Oh and this little gem from the same blog:

    “Charlie Hebdo‘s magazine covers weren’t just about taking a stand against organized religion; it was an articulation of the West’s deeply entrenched Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate (and specifically the fraught history of colonialization between France and Algeria) recast in “satirical” cartoons. In both cases, the intended targets of the speech might be deserving of criticism — either extremist terrorists or a tyrannical government guilty of the worst violations of human rights in the world — but the stroke of the pen is also overly broad. We forget that the vast majority of those who must endure the daily consequences of Seth Rogen and Charlie Hebdo are not terrorists; they are Muslims and Asian Americans, who commit no other crime than being non-White and non-Christian in a world where the mainstream culture is both.”

    • So while that quote you posted up there with the cartoonists taking a stand against the terrorists is all good and great this intelligent person has made it easier for your seemingly narrow mind by considering that those terrorists are only a few murderous people and then you have the majority of Muslims who haven’t committed the murders and do not condone them enduring continued disrespect of their faith on the basis that this is how we’ll disarm the couple of terrorists who decided to commit a heinous act. Think. Stop with the tunnel vision, narrow minded approach and allow yourself to explore deeper broader facets of the issue at hand, if you’re capable. I understand I am coming across mean perhaps but I have no other way to tell you this.

      • You have missed that Charlie Hebdo also ridiculed Christians, Jews and French politicians. They all got the same disrespect from Charlie Hebdo. Also, if you don’t like what you see in a newspaper that you know is going to satirize and ridicule religions and politicians, don’t read it. Then you don’t have to endure seeing something you may find offensive.

        It is not tunnel vision to recognize that the broader issue of free speech mean that sometimes people are going to be offended. It is not narrow-minded to argue that being offended is not the only available response to things one finds insulting to oneself or one’s family or one’s faith or one’s nation.

    • Actually, given Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons ridiculing Christianity and Judaism and various religious figures thereof, they were indeed taking a stand against organized religion. And no, they were not guilty of Islamophobia or anti-Muslim hate. What they were guilty of is being atheists who spoke out against those who used religion and political power in ways they believed were harmful.

      From the AP:

      Like the newspaper, known for lewd and often insensitive humor, the book takes on many sacred cows. [Stephane Charbonnier, one of the cartoonists killed in the January 7 attack on Charlie Hebdo] pillories the unquestioning use of the term “Islamophobia” by some journalists either out of laziness or commercial interest, and decries politicians who fan what he considers an unfair debate on national identity.

      In an opening poem that targets preconceived notions, Charb writes that his intended audience includes those who “think it’s written in the Quran that drawing the Prophet Muhammad is forbidden … think caricaturing a jihadist in a ridiculous position insults Islam … think a drawing is more dangerous than an American drone.”

      But Charb also condemns people who demonize Muslims: “If one day all Muslims in France converted to Catholicism … these foreigners or French of foreign origin would still be seen as responsible for all ills,” he wrote.

      He suggests that such attitudes should be characterized as “Muslim-o-phobia” — since it amounts to an irrational fear of people — instead of “Islamophobia,” which would be an attitude against a religion.

      • But we are not talking about the other cartoons which ridiculed Christians and so on. You seem to have missed the part about the history between France and Algeria. That’s what the quote included. You just seem to retort back to agreeing with what “the others” have said except in your own wording with a lot of justification for any previous points you’ve made. And one more thing, before Jason decides to let you know in a rude way, allow me: “I don’t put down taking offence.”
        but…
        “Perhaps your faith is so weak and shallow that a few insults to what you believe would leave you deeply offended” uhhh, yes you are.

        • And help me God please if you say that is not putting down taking offence despite your assertion that those who do have a shallow and weak faith unlike you.

          • No, I said Jason’s faith may be so weak and shallow that a few insults to it would leave him deeply offended. I admit that I was being derogatory toward weak and shallow faith that leaves people easily offended by a few measly insults. And possibly to Jason. Not to being offended. Contrary to your comment, it would be fairer to say my assertion was that if a few insults to one’s faith leaves one deeply offended, then one’s faith is weak and shallow.

        • “But we are not talking about the other cartoons which ridiculed Christians and so on.” Yes, I am aware that your argument is easier to make when you ignore the larger context of Charlie Hebdo‘s publishing history. Just ignore the facts that don’t fit the narrative you want to craft.

  24. Xajow, it is easier to not feel insulted or offended when your faith and culture is not constantly under racist attack. When you’re white and American and a Christian like the rest of mainstream society and where as a white Christian American you do not personally have to deal with Islamophobia, when your right to practise your religion freely has not been restricted, remember the Islam scarf controversy in France? When you are not marginalized and mocked or stereotyped as a group for the actions of a few. When you don’t have to go through this and when you haven’t gone through this it makes it hard to relate or even understand why someone would take offence because of insults and disrespect to one’s culture or faith. I’m not Muslim, I can’t relate to how they must feel but I still understand that it is not immature to feel offence when one has been subject to all that. When you consider that you realise that it makes one a little more sensitive to disrespect than the privileged white American male or female. Understanding seems to be an issue in your case. Your lack of empathy, understanding and consideration for any other side of the argument other than the one you agree with floors me. But this goes beyond that. It’s incredible how narrowly you view the concept of being offended, the concept of free speech, ignoring the other issues at the heart of the matter.

    • First of all, Islam is not a race. It is a religion. Secondly, Christians get ridiculed all the time, and in many places in the world being Christian is illegal.

      I am not the one ignoring the issues at the heart of the matter. Freedom of speech means sometimes the offensive speech get protected too. Because bigoted people are still people, still human beings with the same rights as those of us who despise racism and bigotry. Also, sometimes being offensive, as I have already pointed out, is the right thing to do. This is the heart of the matter, and so far all you and a couple of others here seem able to argue in reply is that being mean is not nice. Consider for a moment that your perspective may be the one that is narrow and lacking empathy.

  25. Shania Says:

    I didn’t say it was a race? Christians and just about everyone gets ridiculed but you can’t compare it to the situation of Muslims and the topic in this post is on the cartoons of Muhammad. “So far all you and a couple of others here seem able to argue in reply is that being mean is not nice.” You seem to have a narrowing down problem. Everything myself and the other commenters have said cannot be narrowed down to “mean is not nice” again you ignore that which you choose and narrow it down to that which you want so no it’s still you the one that’s being narrow. You ignored much of what I said and retorted with “Christians get ridiculed all the time” Really? That’s your argument? And I’m calling it that to be polite.

    • “I didn’t say it was a race?” You said, “it is easier to not feel insulted or offended when your faith and culture is not constantly under racist attack.”

      “Christians and just about everyone gets ridiculed but you can’t compare it to the situation of Muslims and the topic in this post is on the cartoons of Muhammad.” Sure I can. The folks at Charlie Hebdo were not singling out Muslims. They were making fun of pretty much everybody. That is the context of their cartoons. Ignoring it does not make it go away.

      “Everything myself and the other commenters have said cannot be narrowed down to ‘mean is not nice.'” Sure it can. You are all complaining that the problem was that the cartoons were mean, and that is not nice, so therefore the cartoonists were wrong to print the cartoons. But if you don’t like that, I can just as easily say that your argument amounts to “but these people were offended.”

      “You ignored much of what I said and retorted with “Christians get ridiculed all the time” Really?” So in complaining that I am ignoring your argument, you claim mine was merely “Christians get ridiculed all the time.” Hrm. I think there was more. Let me go look… Yep. I also said, “I am not the one ignoring the issues at the heart of the matter. Freedom of speech means sometimes the offensive speech get protected too. Because bigoted people are still people, still human beings with the same rights as those of us who despise racism and bigotry. Also, sometimes being offensive, as I have already pointed out, is the right thing to do.” So far you and Jason and Lucie have all ignored that bigger issue of the right of freedom of speech so that you all can say, essentially that because the cartoons offended people the problem was the cartoons, and that I am a big meany for not agreeing with you. It’s another version of the “I support freedom of speech, but…” argument. With me, there is no but. I support freedom of speech.

      Even freedom of speech for speech that hurts people’s feelings? Yep. Even freedom of speech for racist speech? Yep. Even freedom of speech for people who say things I find completely reprehensible? Yep. I do not have to agree with what someone says to defend their right to say it. No one needs freedom of speech protection for speech no one finds offensive. Freedom of speech covers even the speech we don’t like or it is not freedom of speech. That is the bigger issue, the broader view, the heart of the matter. And so far your counterargument amounts to, “but these people were offended,” as if that somehow trumps anything.

      Yes, many Muslims were offended by the Muhammad cartoons. That in no way places any obligation on the cartoonists not to make or print the cartoons. Muslims are equally free to make their own magazine ridiculing atheists and Christians and anyone else they do not like. The answer to offensive speech is more speech.

      You keep trying to make hey out of Muslims being a ridiculed minority. Atheists in a society of Christians, Jews and Muslims are also a minority. They have a right to speak out against what they believe is harmful to society and to them. And the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo were atheists. So if we are going to have some empathy for the downtrodden and the rights of the minority, maybe, just maybe, the atheists who would not be cowed by multiple death threats and who were murdered for some lines on paper ought to get some empathy from us too.

      That and the fact that I might respect both minorities equally seems to have escaped you. So I suggest again, consider for a moment that your perspective may be the one that is narrow and lacking empathy.

  26. This is a lot of arguing, guys. Too many against one. I’m covering my eyes!

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