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 fa├žade 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.

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