• Pope Francis Couldn’t Be More Wrong On Charlie Hebdo


    A headline over at Catholic News Service reveals an alarming truth about what Pope Francis thinks the limitations on speech should and shouldn’t be: “Pope says respect for religion should limit freedom of expression”.

    The Pope couldn’t be more wrong. But he has more to say, according to CNSblog:

    When he was asked by a French reporter to compare freedom of religion and freedom of expression as human rights, Pope Francis linked his answer to the Jan. 7 attacks at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, apparently in retaliation for the newspaper’s publication of cartoons mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

     “Let’s go to Paris, let’s speak clearly,” the pope said. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God.”

    The pope said freedom of expression was a “fundamental human right” like freedom of religion, but one that must be exercised “without giving offense.”

    Offering a hypothetical example that referred to the Vatican’s planner of papal trips, who was standing beside him as he spoke, the pope said: “It’s true, one cannot react violently, but if Dr. (Alberto) Gasbarri, a great friend, says a swear word against my mother, then he is going to get a punch. But it’s normal, it’s normal. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith”…

    The emphasis is my own.

    What is freedom of speech if it has limitations? And, it would seem, Charlie Hebdo knows no limits.

    The French satirical paper has taken aim at just about every religion and public figure. But it wasn’t until the drawings of Islam’s prophet were popularized and scandalized that the cheerleaders of limiting speech came out in droves.

    Put plainly, Charlie Hebdo may be a French paper but the way they boldly print whatever they wish–from the fundamentally offensive to the deeply edifying–they are, in that sense, as American as apple pie.

    I disagree with the Pope’s notion that “one cannot make of fun of faith.” As a lifelong Christian, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Christendom made fun of.

    I never once wanted to kill the one who said words that were against my faith. If I was offended, I said so. If I thought what was said was funny, I laughed.

    The problem with the Pope saying we “cannot offend” and also saying we must “without limits” express ourselves “without giving offense,” is that it would be impossible to limitlessly express ourselves while simultaneously not offending someone. We’d all be walking on eggshells all the time in this age of the easily-offended.

    And that’s the point. Charlie Hebdo didn’t walk on eggshells, they took a blowtorch to them.

    Charlie writers don’t care about coddling the easily-shattered feelings of maniacal Muslims. Charlie’s unapologetic criticism of Christianity–including the Pope, past and present–didn’t result in bloodshed. That paper poking fun at the Prophet Mohammed did.

    To his credit, the Pope did say that “one cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion.” But he completely contradicted himself by saying that if someone spoke ill against his mother that “he is going to get a punch” because “it’s normal” and more pointedly, “one cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith.”

    On the contrary, one can say–and thus “provoke”–anything.

    The fundamental point the Pope misses is that radical Jihadists don’t “punch” back. They chop off heads, burn down entire towns, bury babies alive, rape women, torture and mass murder men, and shot innocent journalists who draw “offensive” pictures.

    If anybody needs to be lectured on the importance of not being offended by speech, it is the 1.6 billion Muslims living on this planet. It is in the name of their faith that these massacres are being perpetuated, albeit by a small but significant number of fanatics.

    Jerome Hudson

    Managing Editor

    Jerome Hudson has written for numerous national outlets, including The Hill, National Review, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was recognized as one of Florida’s emerging stars, having been included in the list “25 Under 30: Florida’s Rising Young Political Class.” Hudson is a Savannah, Ga. native who currently resides in Florida.

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