Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Charlie Hebdo: What Pope Francis Said Next

As I’ve said in previous posts, I have a great deal of respect for Catholic friends of mine, as well as their church’s strong stance against abortion. But respecting someone doesn’t mean I agree with everything they believe, and this works both ways. I call it like I see it, and am willing to answer to that.

            A little over a month ago, I posed the question, “What will Pope Francis say next?” Some of his previous spoutings have violated even Catholic dogma. Alas, it did not take long for me to get my answer. After Muslim terrorists attacked the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, leaving 17 dead, the leader of the Roman Catholic church felt the need to again put his sacred foot in his mouth:

"If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch," *Insert fake punch* "It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others…There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others. They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit."

            Radical Islam is no stranger by any means to such attacks. The liberal media makes the claim that jihadists haven’t killed too many people after 9/11, writing off the 2997 fatalities of that day and countless massacres afterwards in the U.S. and all across the world. Charlie Hebdo was the latest, and hasn’t gotten too many excuses apart from the former imam of London, who spoke to Sean Hannity. Oh, and Catholic leaders.
            Let me preface that I do not agree with some of the tactics of Charlie Hebdo. I don’t find that a religion that dictates genocides in the Middle East and is bent on destroying Israel, America, and any of her allies is deserving of much respect. However, Charlie Hebdo has had its share of crude drawings and messages in its magazines. I’m not here to debate the magazine, but rather the free speech that it utilizes.
            If we are to really stand by human rights, then we cannot have exceptions to one of the most precious rights, the right to speak about whatever or whoever, whenever. Sharia Law, not surprisingly, does not include this right. This is the law that Muslim leaders would have the entire world live under. We know the craze of the “holy war” of Islam. Who would honestly make an excuse for their behavior? Pope Francis.
            The pontiff is guilty of no less than rationalizing a massacre on innocent people. Contrary to diluted belief, magazine drawings are not declarations of war. Suck it up. The pope, however, simultaneously condemns the attacks while saying Charlie Hebdo had it coming. They got what was coming. These “provocateurs” got the “punch” as a result of making fun of the faith of others.

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. –Jesus

This is not implying pacifism or taking away self-defense. The context of Matthew 5:39 (context, something the Catholic church tends to ignore) is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He gives instruction on how to deal with one’s enemies. When the Christian is oppressed, he is to accept it as God’s plan for him. He is to pray for his enemies rather than try to get even. Admittedly, it’s not an easy task. But that doesn’t take away the truth of it.
            Which makes the “they had it coming” mentality of Pope Francis all the more ridiculous. Blame the victim, that will solve the problem. “Yeah, she was raped, but did you see what she was wearing? She had it coming.” “Emmitt Till, yeah it was terrible what happened to him, but he whistled at a white woman. The beating, barbed wire, bullet through the head and all of that, he was asking for it.” It sounds ridiculous because it is. The very origins of the word victim is this: "living creature killed and offered as a sacrifice to a deity or supernatural power". Those murdered by the jihadists are victims in every sense of the word. If someone has it coming, they’re not really a victim.
            It’s repulsive to think the religious leader of over a billion people would hold the belief that free speech is stopped where feelings are hurt and egos are bruised. Coming from a religion that for centuries carried on genocides against people who held different beliefs from them, however, the evil rhetoric of this controversial man seems to make more sense. Francis has also been the target, usually pretty accurately, of Charlie Hebdo as well.
            If free speech was limited to what those in power agree with, the definition would be ever-changing. We could hardly consider that liberty. One is reminded of Henry Ford’s famous remark: “You can have any color you want as long as it’s black.” “You can say whatever you want, as long as I agree with it.” I don’t care if I agree with it. I will defend your right to say it. You are free, in a country with liberty, to say or do what you please until it infringes on another’s rights. That is the very definition of liberty. Nowhere in the United States’ Constitution does it say that one has a right for their religion not to be insulted. I don’t believe that’s in the French constitution either. They have a right to freely practice it, but not to keep others from speaking or writing negatively of it. Legislating against feelings being hurt infringes on all rights.
            I know Islam doesn’t hold liberty dear, and I gave up on the President Obama a while ago. But I might have expected better from the pope.
            Islam has a law against depicting Mohammed. Great. I’m not a Muslim, nor is anyone from Charlie Hebdo. I don’t hold non-Christians to Christian standards, because I am not Fascist as a Sharia Law is. I will speak ill of Islam, of Catholicism, and of anything wrong with Christendom, because I am given the right to free speech and free press. These aren’t rights given by government. Many governments would like their people to believe this, because it creates a dependence on Big Brother. A democratic government’s duty is to protect the rights given by Almighty God to every person simply because they are human. Muslim governments don’t pretend to do this. A lot of democratic governments put that façade on while condoning the killing of millions of children in the name of “choice”. But I digress.
            Bottom line, agree with them or not, we must stand for the rights of organizations like Charlie Hebdo, because infringing on their rights puts all of our rights in jeopardy.

            Any religion that tried to stop those who speak against it is a false religion. The same goes for any religion who attempts to rationalize a massacre.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Nude Photo Hacks: The Root Cause

            Awhile back (as in a couple months ago, a long time for a college student) there was a flurry of nude picture hacks. Jennifer Lawrence, McKayla Maroney, Kirsten Dunst, the list could go on. A list of actresses and athletes who for the most part I have legitimate respect for- which makes an occurrence like this all the more heartbreaking.
            Sure, we can judge these women and scrutinize them to no end. They should have never taken them, something few will dispute. But I choose to take the higher road. I choose to examine why something like this would ever happen. See, this is bigger than this specific occurrence. This is a statement on our culture itself.
            Two mentalities lead to things like this happening. Parents, schools and churches all can take a slab of the blame.
            First, girls are not taught to respect themselves. I’ve written before on the fact that we, “we” being the human race, are a bunch of slimeballs who are naturally evil. I do not back down from that, though I would use different terminology. But there is a difference between recognizing your need for God and having a total disregard for yourself. Girls from a young age are being lied to by society, straight up. They are being told that what matters most is others’ perception of you. This is garbage. They are being told that men need to find you attractive; that is the principal goal. Hence, more skin and more makeup. I don’t find an excessive amount of either attractive, although I don’t buy into the hoopla that women should go without makeup, either.
            If one is looking for a legitimate relationship, revealing clothing and excess makeup may be a warning sign. For someone looking for a one-night stand, it is ideal.
            This isn’t me judging girls who go the more revealing route. They don’t deserve to be treated differently. But the simple reality is, they will be. If men see it advertised, they will think it’s for sale.
            Girls today are being set up for one night stands. The “beautiful little fool” mentality that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about decades ago is no more prevalent than today. Girls who come from a fatherless home or a very weakly fathered home believe they have to find “love” through other men- and they are taught that love means giving yourself up.
            Enter nude photos. You want to be popular? You want to attract men? Take it off. That’s society saying this, not me. The one issue is, with technology today, those stick around. But this problem stems from the greater problem: instead of teaching girls that their satisfaction should come from Christ or even their mentality and abilities, they are taught to seek it in physical attraction and undeserved, unloving intimacy.
            Of course, there are two sides to every coin. Going hand-in-hand with this is that the men being reared up in society aren’t taught to respect women. I may get a few things thrown at me, but let’s admit that there are differences between the sexes. Women are more emotionally vulnerable. And men will take full advantage, using the emotional to get the physical. “If you love me…” “It’ll make us closer.” It’s disgusting, but if it weren’t true I wouldn’t tell you. Men believe the greatest thing you can do for them, other than having sex with them, is seeing you naked. In reality, if you’re getting this request, they care nothing for you but for the physical pleasure they can derive from you.
            Men are told that the way they “prove” their manhood is by using women this way. Hence, we have guys not just asking for nude photos, but guys hacking those nude photos and getting their jollies by spreading them across the globe. We have a society full of naïve, victimized women, and men that have never moved past their boyish behavior to learn the proper way to treat the opposite sex.
            And stemming from these issues, we have a situation like this. Web security won’t solve this problem. Respect for ourselves and care for the opposite sex will. Even more golden than revealing clothing to a meathead looking for a girl to bed is a lack of self-respect. Now there are many ways that a woman learns not to respect herself, but we’ll save that for another time. But if she doesn’t think highly enough of herself not to be more than the lady of the evening, she’s the sick gazelle running past a pack of lions.
            Respect yourself, ladies. Know you deserve better. And men, treat women with respect, not a means to your selfish ends. For every situation like this latest nude photo hack there is a society we all contribute to that is to blame.
            Then again, I’m sure none of that’s my business.