• Earold D Gunter

    Regardless if the message was, it is acceptable to physically harm someone for disrespecting someones religion, or the more gentle version, that you should expect to be physically harmed it if you disrespect someones religion, the root message he sends is the same. Religious beliefs should be respected by society; that humans should consider it as socially taboo to speak out against anyone’s religious beliefs; to give not only respect them, but by doing so give those who lead these religions social authority and therefore power.

    To that I say no. I will not respect what in any other context, other than religious belief, would be considered insanity.

    “While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society. Religion is the one area of our discourse where it is considered noble to pretend to be certain about things no human being could possibly be certain about. It is telling that this aura of nobility extends only to those faiths that still have many subscribers. Anyone caught worshipping Poseidon, even at sea, will be thought insane.”
    ― Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

  • The Great God Pan

    “…in his initial comments the pontiff says freedom of expression is a basic right and that violence is not justified, and not in this case. Was he suddenly contradicting himself? I don’t think so.”

    Was he suddenly contradicting himself? I know so.

    More precisely, he was engaging in a particular rhetorical gambit that consists of issuing a disclaimer for your statements that everyone involved, speaker and listeners alike, knows to be disingenuous. You assure everyone that you aren’t saying what you clearly are saying, enabling you to say something outrageous or socially unacceptable while maintaining deniability if anyone should be so crass as to call you on it. This practice is sometimes known, falsely, as “providing nuance.”

    It is a time-honored tactic on both the Right and the “social justice” wing of the Left, and we saw it practiced countless times by representatives of both movements in the wake of the Hebdo/Kosher-grocery massacres, by everyone from the Pope and Bill Donohue to Hussein Rashid here at RNS and a thousand bubbleheads on Twitter.

    When the Pope or anyone else purports to “speak out against violence” but proceeds to devote far fewer words to defending its victims than to empathizing with its perpetrators, you don’t need to squint very hard to read between the lines.

  • Pingback: Latest Sean Hannity News: Pope Francis' mis-interpreters: Who's punch-drunk now? |()

  • Doc Anthony

    Pope France did okay on this one issue. He simply said that violence and murder is never justified, and neither is insulting other people’s faiths (and races, and genders, etc).

    He’s simply addressing both issues that are already on the table anyway.

    Let’s be honest folks. Anytime the liberal New York Times, and the liberal UK newspapers, can’t publish your foolio cartoons because you’ve gone way over the line like a foolio, that means you really ARE a foolio.

    That doesn’t rationally justify your assassination, sure, but ISIS and Al Qaeda are NOT rational. Charlie Hebdo already knew that, and they knew they they were already entrenched and active in their country.

    So they kept on stubbornly functioning as a bonehead foolio cartoon rag anyway, and what happened? Irrational people made an appointment to formally review and evaluate Charlie’s journalistic practices. The End.

    Like REO Speedwagon said, “You get what you play for.”

  • Thanks, David, for a nuanced presentation. Yours makes more sense than any I’ve seen. John Feister, editor, St. Anthony Messenger

  • fdotr

    As debating tactics go, arguing about grammar rather than the topic is one of the old reliable tactics.
    The niceties of passive vs active tense is less troublesome than, “you say that again & I’ll hit you”. Is the physical aggressor deciding what is the trigger word, and the appropriate physical response?
    The catholic church does not have a track record of being willing to respect rules and law consistently. A recent example in Ireland was where the church refused to explain their actions on clerical abuse, because the Vatican is a country and thus has diplomatic immunity. If I put words in the vatican’s mouth, “I don’t have to explain myself when I hurt you, I choose what justifies my hurting you”.

  • The Great God Pan

    I look forward to the follow-up column explaining that the deeply “progressive” Pope Francis didn’t really denounce same-sex couples as “powerful forces” who seek to “destroy the family” during his visit to the Philippines.

  • Eric

    Thanks David, I truly thoughtful piece that one does not see very much of these days. One of the reasons I keep coming to this site day after day.

  • Phyllis Zagano

    I wrote this three days before Francis commented.it is common sense–and common decency to respect others. http://ncronline.org/blogs/just-catholic/misanthropes

  • Jerry Filteau

    John, you said what I was about to say. David, you”ve become one of the best journalists of religion in this country, and this analysis is a great example of why.
    Jerry Filteau, retired journalist for Catholic News Service and National Catholic Reporter.

  • Itsme

    Nice article trying to explain what cannot be explained. You cannot use violence but if you joke on a religion you can expect a punch it’s a normal reaction?

    What about some Christians telling me that I will go to hell because ‘I don’t go to church on sundays’ Is that not offending? ‘Hey you! You will go to hell!’ And the worst is that it is commonly accepted to say so. But if I would reply by: ‘ok in that case we’ll meet each other again for sure’. It would be offending towards a religious dude and therefore a punch can be expected? I will skip the islamists who shoot people for a drawing , is it to be expected to be shot for an insulting drawing?

    So restrictions need to be made because of religious people that might get offended because of critics on their religion. If the idea comes up to limit the freedom of speech , why not coming up with the idea of limiting the freedom of religion?

  • David Gibson

    Thanks, gents. You are the “miglior fabbro,” Jerry!

  • Pingback: Universalism versus Multiculturalism – The Crisis of Liberal Democracy in the Aftermath of the Paris Massacres | Political Theology Today()

  • Pingback: The Courage of Simplicity - Seminarian CasualSeminarian Casual()

  • Pingback: Charlie fallout * Blasphemy * Everything else: January’s Religious Freedom Recap - On Freedom()

  • Pingback: Pope Francis promotes a Catholic-Muslim boxing match - in Vegas? - Sacred and Profane()

  • Pingback: Pope Francis {promotes|encourages|stimulates|helps bring about|advances|endorses} a Catholic-{Muslim|Islamic} {boxing|punching|kickboxing|hand techinques|hand techniques|ufc} {match|complement|match up|go with|fit|suit} {—|Or|,|–} in {Vegas|Las ve()