15 January 2015

Pope Gets One Wrong

I've been pretty complimentary to Pope Francis lately, but here, he is showing a deep misunderstanding (or at least failing to express an understanding) of the difference between what may be good manners and what is the proper province of law. (From TPM).
«... Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks while en route to the Philippines, defending free speech as not only a fundamental human right but a duty to speak one's mind for the sake of the common good.
But he said there were limits.
By way of example, he referred to Alberto Gasparri, who organizes papal trips and was standing by his side aboard the papal plane.
"If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch," Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. "It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others."

If he'd said, "it is wrong to make fun of the faith of others," that would be one thing. But we have learned through long and bitter struggle over centuries that the only reasonable limitation on freedom of expression is where it crosses the line into direct incitement to violence or deliberate creation of panic. Truly, the right of free expression IS THE RIGHT TO OFFEND, and it is a keystone of real civilization.

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