Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Do religions know what "peace" means? or "irony"?

A cartoon says your religion is violent. You are offended, and your response is to shoot someone or bomb something.

You say you are "pro-life" because of your religion. You blow up clinics and shoot doctors in the name of this belief.

And you wonder why I smirk when you say yours is a "religion of peace," or that you follow the "prince of peace."

I'm not fond of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, because of what they say about women and their funding of the proposition in California to ban marriage equality, also known as proposition hate. But I was so impressed when I walked out of the musical The Book of Mormon, there were Mormons standing amid the crowd - not protesting, not shouting, but, instead, handing out the actual Book of Mormon and saying, "You've seen the musical, now read the book!"

I high-fived one of those Mormons and said, "That's awesome."

You have every right to counter a message with your own peaceful message. You have every right to be outraged by anything. You have every right to demonstrate that outrage, so long as it is not violent, nor oppressive. You have no right to violence against other humans. None.

Freedom of expression is not only a basic, universal human right - if you are responding to a criticism that says you are violent with violence, you're an idiot.

This attack in Paris today on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo does far more to paint Islam as violent than any cartoon ever has.

I do not blame all Muslims for this. But I do believe that any Muslim who supports blasphemy laws, or who doesn't not believe in freedom of expression, even when he or she does not support what is being expressed, shares some of the blame for what has happened today in Paris.

My best wishes for safety to the staff of The Onion, to the guys at South Park, to James Franco and Seth Rogan, and to anyone else who has been threatened for their satire.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité


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