The Catholic League seems to think Christians should be siding with Islam over mockery.
People attack Christianity in the press all the time, mock Christianity, and otherwise blaspheme. In the United States they have the right to use their mouths and whatever means are available to them to publish such blasphemy.
We may not like it and we may disagree with it, but that is how “freedom of speech” works.
When people use violence to stop speech they find offensive, we should speak out against violence, not against the exercise of free speech.
But Bill Donahue, the President of the Catholic League, didn’t seem to see it that way. His thoughts were posted under the headline: “Muslims Are Right to Be Angry.” He says of the workers on the satirical newspaper:
Those who work at this newspaper have a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of their depictions of religious figures. For example, they have shown nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms. They have also shown Muhammad in pornographic poses.
While some Muslims today object to any depiction of the Prophet, others do not. Moreover, visual representations of him are not proscribed by the Koran. What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. On this aspect, I am in total agreement with them.
Stephane Charbonnier, the paper’s publisher, was killed today in the slaughter. It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death. In 2012, when asked why he insults Muslims, he said, “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me.” Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive. Muhammad isn’t sacred to me, either, but it would never occur to me to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing him.
I can only assume that Donahue wants the government to somehow protect all religions from having their beliefs mocked. I agree that Christianity should not be mocked, but since we don’t have a Christian government, I think we need to learn to live with the society we are in. The government should protect speech, not restrict offensive, unbelieving speech. If it does the latter, it will inevitably censor Christians for telling the truth about Islam.
If we want the freedom to preach the Gospel, even when it is offensive, we are better off advocating the freedom of offensive speech. We should emphasize how evil it was to kill the people who worked for the publication, not empathize with the emotions of Muslims.