Thursday, January 08, 2015
Can I add anything . . .
. . . to the discussion about the Charlie Hebdo murders?
Maybe a little. Many in the commentariat are opining along the lines that while obviously murder is not the answer, it's wrong to offend people's religious beliefs so don't do it. These include Bill Donohue of a wingnut Catholic organization and others, as discussed here by Jonathan Chait.
I would actually go a bit beyond Chait. Yes, we all have a right to commit blasphemy and the correct response to offense is to talk back, not commit violence. However, you don't have to draw crude and raunchy caricatures in order to offend the pious. All you have to do is aver that their beliefs are false. Religious people demand "respect" for their beliefs -- not for their persons, mind you, which I fully endorse, but for their beliefs.
I don't respect beliefs I consider nonsensical. I'm pretty sure Bill Donohue doesn't think I should respect the beliefs of flat-earthers. I don't know offhand his position on climate change or vaccination, but presumably he thinks I'm allowed to debate those subjects. But why should I respect his nonsensical belief that because a snake convinced a woman to eat a piece of fruit thousands of years ago, we were all tainted by sin until God impregnated a woman with a baby who was also himself and then when the guy grew up had him tortured to death, even though the whole point is he didn't die, thereby removing the taint and allowing people who believe this crap to live in bliss forever while everybody else is eternally tortured?
I don't respect that, it's utterly preposterous, transparently false and internally contradictory. And yes, I'm allowed to say that in public and I'd say it to his face if he were here. So there.