Saturday, February 11, 2006

Freedom of the Press, Conscience, Thought and Expression

Is it really freedom if you are forbidden to offend anyone? Can I really say that I have freedom of the press, of conscience, thought and expression if the only things I am allowed to say is that Motherhood and Apple Pie are good (with the suitable disclaimers that in supporting motherhood I'm not making a value judgement on althernative lifestyles, single parent fathers, single parent mothers or cloning)? A freedom is only a freedom if it has the potential to cost something.

Some of these Danish cartoons are simply inane. One of them is quite offensive. I wouldn't personally draw or publish them. But is there really freedom if we are forbidden, discouraged or persecuted for publishing something which is offensive to Muslims, Christians (including myself) or even Atheists? I would prefer a world where someone is allowed to insult my Christian sensibilities, and where I am allowed to preach Christ as the only way to Heaven. If we are forbidden to address certain topics, sooner or later the list of forbidden topics will include something of great value to me (such as my freedom to preach the Christian Gospel).

Governments around the world are struggling with this issue. But Muslims around the world need to understand that the same freedom which allows some people to offend their sensibilities also allows them the freedom to preach their faith. Would they be happier if we pledge not to allow anything offensive to ever be printed about Mohammed, but tell all the Muslims in Canada that they have 48 hours to leave the country? Surely not.


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