Religions and Free Speech

It is interesting to contrast how different religions handle publications that they consider are derogatory or offensive of their beliefs.

With the Catholic Church we have the fine example of the South Park Episode which features a statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding out her behind and the Pope eventually investigating and declaring it is no miracle as in fact the bleeding is from elsewhere and quite ordinary. Now I have viewed this episode. It is truly offensive. It is especially offensive to Catholics who revere the Virgin Mary.

Luckily for me I enjoy offensive comedies so found the episode hilarious.

Now various Catholic groups have lobbied for that episode to not be aired. They have signed a letter to C4 asking it not to be shown. An appropriate action. C4 hopefully will of course show it anyway. And that result will be accepted.

Now over in Denmark a newspaper ran some cartoons that satirically ridiculed the prophet Mohammed. The reaction to this newspaper from many representatives of Islam has been amazing. This is a private newspaper not owned by the state.

However Libya has closed its embassy, Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador, religious leaders have called for boycotts of all Danish products, Danish aid workers in the middle east have been threatened, protests have burnt the Danish flag etc etc.

All this over one private newspaper running some cartoons. Islamic Governments around the world declaring the Denmark must kill off a free press and stop a repeat.

I hate to think what would happen if South Park ever satirised Islam in the way it does the Catholic Church.

And meanwhile in the UK Rowan Atkinson is continuing his fight against a bill which basically will make it illegal to insult religions.

Personally I think that just as it is important for people to choose a religion freely, people should be able to criticise and satirise religions freely.

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