Is blasphemy a right?

This is troubling.   On the site of 20 Minutes, in French. My sender wrote:

Reporters without border’s president, Christophe Deloire, on a national TV show sunday evening, said that his organization is working toward a declaration to be agreed upon by religions leaders and posted at the entrance of churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. The idea being to force religious leaders to accept publicly that blasphemy is a right and a right above the right of religion.

Decide for yourself.

Christophe Deloire (RSF): «Les responsables religieux doivent reconnaître qu’on puisse rire de ce qu’eux-mêmes considèrent comme sacré»

Il y aura «évidemment» des caricatures de Mahomet, mercredi, dans le numéro de Charlie, car «l’état d’esprit Je suis Charlie, cela veut dire aussi le droit au blasphème», a insisté ce lundi l’avocat du journal Richard Malka. «Le blasphème, c’est sacré», lançait plus tôt, sur France Inter, Sophia Aram.
Comment protéger ce droit au blasphème, puisque le blasphème en tant que tel n’existe pas dans le droit français? Reporters Sans Frontières propose une charte. Le directeur général de l’ONG l’a annoncé dimanche soir lors de la soirée de soutien à Charlie Hebdo. Alors qu’il rassemble des personnalités pour la proposer «d’ici la fin de la semaine», il explique la démarche à 20 Minutes.
Le blasphème n’existe pas dans la loi française. Qu’est-ce alors que réclamer le droit au blasphème?
Lorsque des fous furieux passent à l’acte, il y a évidemment une démarche individuelle, et c’est heureusement plus que rarissime. Néanmoins aujourd’hui, dans un certain nombre de lieux de culte, est propagée une idéologie selon laquelle la liberté d’expression doit être soumise au sacré. Cela fournit des arguments aux fous furieux. Ce sont aussi des conceptions propagées par des Etats. Si on veut tout faire pour que ce qui s’est passé à Charlie Hebdo ne se reproduise pas, il faut faire en sorte que ces discours ne soient plus tenus. La loi en France est satisfaisante, puisque Charlie a remporté ses procédures. Mais le but est de demander aux responsables religieux, individuellement, d’affirmer qu’ils considèrent que la liberté d’expression n’a pas de religion. Qu’ils reconnaissent comme légitime qu’on puisse rire de ce qu’eux-mêmes considèrent comme sacré. Que des journalistes et dessinateurs puissent travailler sans être limités par des règles.
Vous proposez une charte. Comment comptez-vous obtenir cet engagement de la part des responsables religieux?
Si on veut que les choses changent, c’est en faisant changer les esprits de ceux qui entretiennent les arguments des fous furieux. On est en train de constituer un comité de personnalités, non religieuses mais représentatives de la société française, pour préparer un texte et cette stratégie permettra de constater qui signe, et qui ne veut pas signer. Le but est d’inciter ceux qui auraient des difficultés à signer, sous la pression publique. Quand on a reconnu publiquement des principes, c’est plus dur de tenir le discours inverse dans un lieu de culte.
L’ONU a abandonné le concept de blasphème en 2011, mais un rapport sur le blasphème que vous avez publié en 2013 montre que près de la moitié des pays du monde condamnent encore le blasphème ou la diffamation pour fait religieux.
Notre idée est de commencer par la France et d’essayer de propager ça. Certains Etats font des offensives régulières pour ajouter la diffamation des religions dans leur droit. Que les pensées aient le droit d’éteindre la critique, ce serait totalement funeste.
En France, on a beaucoup débattu des limites de l’humour autour de l’affaire Dieudonné. Mais dans la presse, qu’est-ce qui a changé ces dernières années, du point de vue de la liberté d’expression au sujet des religions?
De manière générale on constate qu’une forme d’autocensure s’est peu à peu instaurée. Du point de vue de l’humour en général, des vieux sketchs de Desproges et des Inconnus passeraient mal aujourd’hui. Dans la presse, beaucoup de citoyens trouvent que le pluralisme est trop restreint, qu’il faudrait élargir le champ du débat. En France, on est obsédés par ce qui est bien ou mal de dire, plutôt que de regarder la réalité telle qu’elle est. Un journaliste peut très vite être conspué s’il fait une enquête qui ne va pas dans le sens d’une morale qui a pris beaucoup de poids dans le débat public. A droite comme à gauche.

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46 Responses to Is blasphemy a right?

  1. nzcatholic says:

    No it’s not a right. This is what religious freedom does. Rather what is needed is Religious tolerance

  2. RAve says:

    A young gifted scholar monk from the Heilegenkreuz Cistercian monastery in Austria has just translated his recent essay on religious freedom. It is excellent and perhaps will be useful in this doscussio. It is in 4 parts. Author is Pater Edmund Waldstein.

    http://thejosias.com/2014/12/31/religious-liberty-and-tradition-i/

  3. RAve says:

    Dubium: Can the State Limit Non-Catholic Religions?
    Dubium: Does your interpretation of Dignitatis Humanæ imply that the state cannot, even as the arm of the Church, limit the public profession of non Catholic religions if the professors are unbaptized (apart, of course, from the considerations of public order)? Put differently, has the church never allowed that exercise to the state?

    Answer here: http://thejosias.com/author/sancrucensis/

  4. Bosco says:

    At what point does my evangelisation or proselytising for any religion or political philosophy become another’s blasphemy?

  5. Elodie says:

    Doesn’t the concept of free will mean more that we should self-censor when it comes to offending others, rather than the state censoring us?

    If any Catholics were to promote anti-blasphemy laws, I guarantee it will come back to bite us in the backside. Probably in the form of our sacraments being judged as blasphemy against Unitarians or some such nonsense.

    We’d be better off keeping the state away from considering blasphemy laws and engaging in our own devotions regarding blasphemy. See, for example, Sr. Mary of St Peter — the Holy Face. Google it.

  6. Bosco says:

    By the way remember Jesus Himself was charged with blasphemy:

    “Why doth this man speak thus? He blasphemeth. Who can forgive sins, but God only?” Mark 2:7

  7. jimrb3 says:

    This one is simple – nobody has a right to sin, and posting a letter outside a church telling people they do would be cowardly capitulation at best, and most probably gravely sinful.

    However, not all injustices are for the state to correct – I would argue the state has no authority to act – neither to forgive, to punish, or to encourage this particular sin.

    But what a sad, stupid commentary on our time. I am saddened by the deaths of these cartoonists (for which there was no justification), but I am most decidedly NOT Charlie Hebdo, nor will I let the emotionality of the situation make me fearful to refute the upswell of ideas that blaspheming is “free speech”. Charlie Hebdo is a vile puerile sinful magazine, not brave (for bravery requires a just and virtuous cause), but merely imprudent – certainly not worthy of praise or emulation, and definitely not an ideal which should prompt anyone to post a message on the doorway of a church condoning and endorsing blasphemy.

  8. Kerry says:

    Elodie, echos of John Adams, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    It is incumbent that we hold our own tongues. Shall we trust the care of our souls over to anyone but Christ?

  9. Sonshine135 says:

    Common sense dictates just because you have a right to say something doesn’t mean that you should say it. My Dad taught me that, but it appears this lesson is no longer passed on in many cases. Maybe its just that social media allows a minority of people to be extremely vocal?
    That being said, I don’t understand why a formal declaration should have to be posted inside of a church. What is the posting of such message insinuating? Can I walk in off the street and start screaming at the top of my lungs inside a church during Mass, because it is protected speech? Is this to give groups like Femen a pass?

    Similarly, should French atheists also post a reminder in their homes that religion is a right, and I should be allowed to proselytize without fear of retribution? I think not.

    People need to realize that a free society means that yes, you have a right to say anything you want, but you also incur the responsibility of those actions. That goes both ways, and would not keep me from proclaiming the gospel and the good news. I’m quite sure that atheists will continue to speak blasphemies. “Protected speech” is a fairy tail anyway unless you live in a theocracy where blasphemy is against the law. I have always believed that blasphemy from an atheist is a little like shooting a gun with no bullets anyway. They reject the spirit and speak wrongly about things they cannot comprehend. I pity them.

  10. Phil_NL says:

    Is blasphemy a political right?
    You bet, as we’ve seen that the political bodies (and in fact the people of which they are a product) cannot be trusted to codify moral imperatives. The only way in which people can lead moral lives in peace and security is if the secular authorities do not curtail freedom.

    Is blasphemy a moral right?
    Obviously not, it is wrong. But even then it’s debatable – to say the least – if islam worships God, or worships a caricature of God. In the latter case, insulting the caricature is a right – in fact, it might even be an obligation if it serves as a teachable moment. Nor should we fail to realise that ‘blespheming’ mohammed is no blasphemy at all, as no divinity attaches to him.

    Which brings us back to the first point: as long as there is no unanimity on the facts underlying the second point (with the status of mohammed being a good lithmus test in this day and age), we cannot and should not seek to curtail freedom through political means. Each has his own resposibility before God, and that is enough.

  11. CradleRevert says:

    Unfortunately, in this country at least, this is the logical conclusion of “the freedom of speech”.

  12. govmatt says:

    Freedom is the right to make the wrong decision.

    There’s a big difference between the Lord telling me what I can and cannot do and any government.

  13. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Of course blasphemy is not a right. But the question is whether the power of civil law should be used in its regard.

  14. JesusFreak84 says:

    Well, when you have Popes pulling things like Assisi, kissing Korans, asking non-Catholic prelates to pray for him…is this really shocking? The highest office in Holy Mother Church has basically indicated all religions are exactly the same; why should blaspheming the Holy Name of Jesus be any different than blaspheming the false prophets of Islam or the LDS?

  15. MarylandBill says:

    No, freedom is only free if used responsibly to follow the dictates of a well formed conscience. Exercise of that freedom will of necessity, being that we are fallen beings, entail making wrong decisions, but that is not in and of itself a legitimate exercise of freedom.

  16. MGL says:

    The god of the Mohammedans is at best a funhouse mirror caricature of the true God, and at worst a being of demonic origin. It isn’t possible to blaspheme against a lie. Error has no rights, remember?

    We are only having this current blasphemy debate because we have imported into our countries vast numbers of religiously and culturally incompatible adherents to an imperialist theopolitical sect. We will continue to suffer terrorist attacks and assorted Mohammedan depredations until we deal head-on with the problem, either by submission or by stern measures.

    We can talk about blasphemy laws once we have completely shut down all Mohammedan immigration (apart from strictly limited work and study permits), enacted restrictions on the public practice of Islam, and (ideally) offered generous repatriation packages to those already here. But as long add they remain here in large numbers and on equal religious terms, it would be suicidal to pander to them in this way.

  17. PA mom says:

    There has been much discussion of this on the opinion boards, and I have come to the decision that within mankind, there needs to be the right to blasphemy.

    Free speech laws protect people who are saying vile and even untrue things, BUT, blasphemy laws are used to punish people who are saying TRUE and NECESSARY things.

    My apologies to our dear host here, but I would not wish for one minute to have had the priest scandals hushed up under some sort of blasphemy law. There was real evil being done and evil needs to be brought to light (not that the investigations shouldnt have been more careful and less biased, nor that innocent priests should have ended up in jail, just those harming children).
    At this time, blasphemy laws are protecting people and ideas who are doing vile things to women, children and those of other and same religion and it is FAR MORE important that these people and ideas be brought to light than that blasphemy be stopped.

    God knows who is really blaspheming Him and I have every confidence that He will deal with them.

  18. Legisperitus says:

    Deloire isn’t talking about blasphemy laws or the state, though. He’s talking about getting a coalition of religious leaders to agree that they consider blasphemy okay.

    This seems entirely wrongheaded. The point isn’t that blasphemy is okay; it’s that murder isn’t okay. The murderers need to be found and punished.

    Even if they get a group of religious leaders to sign some kind of “charter” agreeing that journalists can make fun of whatever religion they want, that group is not going to include Muslim leaders. Probably it will be a coterie of weak-kneed Catholic bishops and some liberal Protestants and Jews, none of whom issue fatwas or go around killing people for blasphemy anyway.

    Even if a couple of imams signed on to such a thing, they would not have authority over whatever Islamic groups are doing the killing anyway. So it’s no more useful an idea than the “march for unity” they just tried.

  19. MrsMacD says:

    We should do penance to repair for blasphemy. Leon Dupont, a gentleman, would lick the ground. As would some other saints. Our Lady of La Sallette told the children that it was because of blasphemy that her Son allowed His Father to punish the people with famine. People accustomed to blasphemy will hold their tongues in front of my husband. I’m not certain why. And I’ve found the same thing some people will try to hold their tongues in front of ladies or priests. People sense that we know it’s wrong. Certainly we have no right to say it’s right. That would be a lie. Some sins of blasphemy should be punished by law, like breaking into a church and stealing the contents of a tabernacle, and they should hardly be tolerated. Part of the problem is that the state is required to view all religions as equal and that’s part of the lie, because there is only one true Church. Prayer, penance and Eucharistic adoration, processions with the Blessed Sacrament will help to repair for the harm done.

    Why should we add to the mockery they heaped on Him when they crowned Him with thorns?! Why should we tolerate or even worse condone it? To repair for the deaths of some cartoonists? Never. That would be giving in to the bullies. Sinning to repair for sin. We’re not going to kill anyone for blasphemy but do you think some law is going to stop the muslims from killing people for blasphemy? No.

  20. StephenGolay says:

    A Catholic call to promote anti-blasphemy laws – with Muslims as allies – is beginning to haunt Catholic blogs and such. I find it worrying:

    1. It is, in fact, a relativist use of history, compelling history to serve present ends: uprooting it, emptying it of its lived experience (or existence) independent of our concerns.

    2. To compel the state to do the bidding of the Church requires what, exactly? Are we after some sort of a Catholic Caliphate (minus the beheadings)?

    3. I may get trounced but there is a difference between the “separation of church and state” and the “separation religion and culture”. The first respects defined (temporal) spheres of sovereignty and touches up the Natural Law; the second – when taken as an absolute – is both harmful and a denial of the actual life of mankind – in short, a shunning and shunting aside of the Natural Law.

    4. In discussing this issue, few ever take a step back and actually define blasphemy – or why Islam could ever be a lexicon partner. Islam defines blasphemy utterly other and differently from the West (Catholic or not, even secular or not).

    5. We need a healthy discussion on why French Catholicism, in the 19th Century (post-Revolution) was, in many respects, an utter failure. It cannot all be blamed on those nasty fellows of the Paris Commune..
    .

  21. Andrew says:

    It seems to me that such a proposal (an attempted legalization of blasphemy) would contradict existing laws governing Defamation, Libel and Slander.

  22. DavidJ says:

    There should not be any civil laws against blasphemy. Period. Aside from interfering with the (civil) right to free speech, letting a civil authority define what blasphemy is is a really really bad idea and if people cannot see how this would oppress Catholics….

  23. RomeontheRange says:

    Gee.. can a “right to obscenity” be far behind?

  24. gracie says:

    Blasphemy is a right based on what? On the right to free speech?

    Okay. I’ll accept that. Free Speech is a right that trumps all other rights. For everyone, right? That’s it. Free Speech is our god. Let’s worship at the altar of our new god. Let’s proclaim him. Let’s evangelize him. And the best way to do that – to get with the program – is to affirm our own right to free speech; our right to declare that blasphemy is not a right; our right to declare that blasphemy breaks the Second Commandment – which we with our free speech right have the right to proclaim. Further, forcing churches to support the right to blasphemy denies our free speech right to reject blasphemy. Your declared free speech right to impose blasphemy on us takes away our free speech right to affirm that you have no such right. Capisce?

    We have *got* to stop playing defense and start playing offense. Free Speech is free only when we have the right to reject the Free Speech of others and that means rejecting the assertion that others have the right to nail their speeches to our church doors. They don’t have the right to force churches to publish words that contradict a church’s own teachings. It’s a fabricated right with nothing to back it up except power. We must assert our own right to free speech – which includes the right to reject the imposition of fascism on us – while we still can.

  25. MrTipsNZ says:

    Of course blasphemy is not a “right” and the proponents of said declaration do not really believe it. I would have more truck for their argument if they held up the declaration and burnt it out of confusion.

    However, the more appropriate question for them is Luke 18:7,8 ” And will not God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard? [8] I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? “

  26. Imrahil says:

    Freedom is the right to make the wrong decision.

    No it isn’t. It is the right to make the right decision, by oneself. (Remember the great part of decisions we practically are not between virtue and sin, but only between higher and lesser virtue or just between equally acceptable acts.)

    There is no such thing as a right (properly speaking) to make the wrong decision.

    The State does not, though, suppress any wrongful acts. Which is largely a good thing, because (among other things) it serves to upkeep one’s actual freedom. For such reasons, the Church now teaches that the State is not to suppress wrongness in religious matters (notably excepted are matters downrightly affecting the public order*, and also “discussional unfairness”, see Dignitatis humanae 4, 7) – i. e. teaches what I’d like to term a “quasi-right” to make the wrong decision here (for the reason of the higher good of embracing Catholic truth in freedom, nota bene).

    [* It affects, e. g., the public order of a Christian state if non-believers wish to do normal work on holidays, or dance on Good Friday. Which is why these are prohibited, and rightly so, in many states. It also affects the public order of a Catholic state if people, wishing to demonstrate their unbelief, organize barbecue parties on Good Friday, and hence that could possibly be prohibited equally, though I am not aware this is the actual case in any place.]

    The Church never has taught, nor does she teach, that the same would apply to the quite different question of blasphemy (properly so-called). No opinion is unexpressible if the expresser has to refrain from insults – whether these insults now apply to men* or to God himself. And that is just what blasphemy is: insulting God himself. (Any sin insults God, but blasphemy does so intentionally.)

    [* In my country, using a slur towards a natural person is a criminal offense.]

    Note that this, which refers to actual blasphemy, does not refer to anything called blasphemy. A short list of things that should not be prohibited:
    1. giving a pointed, but insult-free, opinion which is likely to arouse feelings among easily offended people**,
    2. profanities and curses (sometimes improperly called blasphemies),
    3. informal prayers, such as “Good Lord in Heaven”, “Jesus, Mary, Joseph” and the like, said in emotional situations with the tone of a sigh or of jubilation and not of a slur (often termed profanities, or even blasphemies, in the Protestant tradition, which they aren’t).

    Of these, no. 1 and 3 are not sinful (to say the very least there’s room for leeway), and hence should not be offenses. No. 2 is, of course, sinful, nor is it really needed for expressing one’s opinion, so a state could possibly choose to suppress that (under the general header “combatting immorality”, which, yes, is one of the State’s functions): but it belongs that much to the “ordinary immoralities of generally decent people” (if you pardon the expression) that prosecution seems unwise in any circumstance I can imagine; these kind of things are to be left to the confessor, the spiritual director, and the person herself.

    [** Which is the legal definition of blasphemy should be an objective one, and not refer to the feelings of believers.]

  27. Stephen Matthew says:

    If the summary presented is in any way a correct representation, it seems the notices that this group wants posted would be an open invitation to blaspheme not only on the front steps but even in the very sanctuary of the house of worship in question. It would be inviting and encouraging sacrilege and desecration and all manner of profanation of a worship space.

    It seems this group wants exactly this, if that summary is correct.

  28. Gus Barbarigo says:

    Remember Obama at the UN: “The Future Must Not Belong to Those Who Slander The Prophet of Islam”

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2015/01/07/obama-speech-on-paris-shooting-n1939826

    Don’t be fooled. This “blasphemy law” push is Muslim-fueled and UN-fanned. It’s part of making people say “The Prophet Mohammed” instead of the generic “Mohammed” (CNN already does this). No one will be prompted to say “The Lord Jesus”. It is subtle policing of thoughtcrime, and every Christian should fight it. Don’t think it will work? Are we supposed to say “African American” instead of “Black”? Christmas was only last month. How many clerks were afraid to say, “Merry Christmas”?

    You want to stop or atone for blasphemy? Try the First Saturday devotions!

  29. NBW says:

    Blasphemy is not a right; unfortunately it’s a choice. This French proposition is sheer lunacy. I read somewhere that the Charlie Hebdo magazine had been struggling to keep afloat and now the French government has decided to pour 3 million into the ailing magazine so it can now be the “voice” of freedom. From some of the covers I have seen, it appears that they have been brutally blasphemous to the Catholic faith, and only luke warm to Islam. What Charlie Hebdo really stands for, is the ability to be a bully; picking on people they dont agree with and being able to get away with it. I think freedom of speech is good, but not at the cost of degrading another human being. And now if you complain about Charlie Hebdo you will be considered a terrorist.

  30. Traductora says:

    Blasphemy isn’t a good thing, but it’s so subjective that there’s no way to say what it really is, and thus no way to prevent it without suppressing free comment or even humor. Muslims are hypersensitive, obviously because they don’t think Allah can take care of himself, and probably because the truth always hurts and they know there is truth in those cartoons. But this hypersensitivity is their problem, not ours, if they want to live in this society.

    I read that Oxford University Press has just issued an order prohibiting the mention of pigs or even pork products, such as sausages and bacon, in its children’s books published in the UK. So even mentioning something that Muslims consider taboo is considered an affront? A Jewish commentator said that Jews don’t eat pork, but that doesn’t mean even the word is forbidden or that they care if other people eat pork. But Muslim hypersensitivity triumphs again.

    Frankly, the solution if you don’t like things like Charlie Hebdo is not to buy them or look at them. In my opinion, the magazine is like Mad for adult leftists, but cruder, dirtier and nowhere near as funny. And I wouldn’t even have known it existed except for the hypersensitive Muslims (most of whom would also never known it existed, except that the technique of their “preachers” is to stir up the mobs by finding slights to the fragile Mohammedan ego).

  31. Gerard Plourde says:

    Like many of the commenters here, I would be very reluctant to see anti-blasphemy laws passed. The opportunity for mischief on the part of a government is too great. I would point out that one of the accusations leveled against Our Lord at his trial was blasphemy (Mt. 26:65, Mk. 14:64, Lk. 22:71).

  32. DeGaulle says:

    Those proposing the “right to blasphemy” are opportunists, making use of this situation to attack Christianity in the guise of freedom of speech. Why apply it to Christians-they had been brutally blasphemed by this wretched rag and hadn’t lifted a finger? Yet, if applied, we would be the ones to suffer but you can bet your last cent that nobody would dare to make any mosque post something like this. But it might prove impossible to ever have a Mass again, with excellent attendance by those wishing to disrupt it guaranteed.

  33. Patti Day says:

    I will not submit to jihadists nor to Christophe Deloire.

  34. jhayes says:

    It seems to me that the proposed statement confuses three issues.

    1. The civil law should not forbid blasphemy
    2. People who are offended by actions they consider blasphemous should not take violent action against the perpetrators.
    3. They do have the right to take non-violent action to express their disapproval.

    2 and 3 are the position we already take in regard to abortion clinics. We oppose burning down clinics and murdering abortion doctors, but we support people who want to hold vigils or marches.

    Regarding 1, most western countries either don’t have laws against blasphemy or don’t enforce those that are still on the books. The bigger problem is that non- western countries (predominantly Muslim) do have laws against blasphemy which fall very heavily on non-Muslims. A prudential judgement would be that in a diverse world it is better to have no laws against blasphemy in any country. That is not the same as saying that people have a moral right to commit blaspemy.

  35. Imrahil says:

    Dear jhayes,

    A prudential judgement would be that in a diverse world it is better to have no laws against blasphemy in any country.

    as an alternative to the existing state yes; but I wouldn’t suppose those other states to abolish their blasphemy laws just because we don’t have ones, or have abolished ours.

    On the other hand, if we did prosecute those who offend against what is holy, but do so in objective way, we might help in a small way to establish objective standards, and not just “what Muslims don’t like”.

    (While the “Charlie Hebdo” journal had published blasphemy at the Christian faith of the vilest category, the only caricature “against Islam” that I’ve seen so far consists of Mahomet complaining “It’s hard to be loved by jackasses”. This is a pro-Islam statement, only the terrorists, and it seems the rest of the Muslim community, failed to understand it as such.)

  36. Andrew_81 says:

    Strictly speaking, a “right” is that thing which is due in justice. This is what’s called an “objective right”.

    Only because of an objective right can we speak of a “subjective right” — that is, the power to claim a thing.

    Where there is no thing due or no duty, there is no “right”. There is no absolute “right” to free speech, only the duty to say the truth, and so the right to say such freely.

    That’s very clear in Pope Leo XIII’s “Libertas”.

    We have the right to freely speak the Truth, but only because others are owed the Truth.

    God is owed worship and respect. Men have a right therefore only to worship and respect Him in their speech.

    To say there’s a right to blasphemy is to effectively assert that there’s a duty to offend God, or else to make “rights” entirely subjective.

  37. Imrahil says:

    I would point out that one of the accusations leveled against Our Lord at his trial was blasphemy.

    Indeed, and a quite unfounded one at that. Besides, He was denied due process in any case.

  38. Kathleen10 says:

    Absolutely not. No blasphemy laws. I was enlightened about the content of Charlie Hebdo by Bill Donahue of the Catholic League, who noted the content of their journal was often pornographic, and often contained horrible images of Jesus, the Holy Mother, or nuns, in addition to pornographic images of Mohammed. It is a fine line between freedom and license. I support the first and not the second.
    MGL, I agree with you on what it would take to begin to address this problem. What it will take the West to do it I am afraid to speculate even to myself. We are seeing many capitulations. In the US we lost over 3000 of our citizens to Islam and many of our military around the world, in attacks such as on military bases. There is no reconciliation to be had. We need to limit immigration and if possible, offer repatriation, or we will all end up as France and worse.

  39. ThankyouB16 says:

    And this is EXACTLY why we need a more serious engagement with ALL of Catholic tradition, including the forgotten about teachings on Church and State pre-Vatican II. The talk of “the right to blasphemy,” I believe, is the kind of stuff that the 19th century Popes were thinking about when they used language, so harsh to our modern ears, and acted with such great caution toward religious liberty. Long live the hermeneutic of continuity!

  40. The Cobbler says:

    Blasphemy is only subjective to the extent that our knowledge of God is subjective.

    Is anyone else here besides me horrified that people were murdered and all anyone wants to talk about is freedom of speech?

  41. jamie r says:

    We definitely need to allow the government to regulate blasphemy. I really trust congress and Obama to decide what is and isn’t blasphemy and prosecute people accordingly. I see this working out really well for the Catholic church.

  42. Gratias says:

    Je suis Catholique.

    Les Musulmans veult la domination de la civilization Occidentelle et Chretienne. Moi je vive ma vie comme si la Révolution Française n’est pas passé. Deus le veult.

    So long, and may shame be upon you and your descendants for inventing The Terror, you cowardly Frogs. I boycotted French wine and cheese for five years after the anti-American discourse of Dominique De Villepin at the United Nations in 2003 back when the USA was a virile nation. Enjoy the soft peaceful encroachment of your Muslim multitudes, polygamy, antisemitism, and Sharia law. Frogs are in the slowly boiling pot right now and we Americans do not want to be in that number.

  43. PA mom says:

    the Cobbler- It is horrible, obviously, that people were murdered.
    However, I find it helpful that there is a conversation going on about the freedom of speech. So often these events are discussed as if someone suddenly just lost their head and decided to end the lives of a bunch of people. It is getting much closer to the truth to admit that there are more objective reasons for this behavior. More premeditated reasons and within the religion itself. Honest discussion of this is needed. Not just of jihad (though that too) but of the capital and violent punishments written into Islam, the doctrine behind them and even the example of Mohammed. If all of this were finally put into the heads of people nationally, maybe they would stop thinking of Islam as the nice religion of peace, with a book which is basically the Bible with an extra chapter tacked on for Mohammed, and start processing what it really is.

    THAT would be a big step forward.

  44. Ktokebek says:

    Guys, the problem is not so much blasphemy as a right. After all, in French law, since the 1880’s, blasphemy is no more recognized as a delict or crime and as such is neither a right, nor a crime. They can do whatever they want. Don’t you see that the problem is more profound? What they want now is for religious leaders to publicly affirm that whatever they believe is not sacred. For Catholics, signing such a declaration, compounded by the fact that this would then be posted at the entrance of churches etc., would mean accepting that God himself is not sacred. We are entering a very touchy situation. I hope our leadership (bishops etc.) will be very cautious with this. This may be a real trap.

  45. The Drifter says:

    After reading the latest papal interview, I drummed-up my Scholastic recollactions and produced the following syllogisms

    1) The pope states that whomever insults his mother can expect a punch; 2) for Catholics, Our Lady is the mother “par excellence”; 3) to whomever insults Our Lady, the pope answers by delivering a knuckle sandwich.

    Which brings to the following conclusion:

    1) To whomever insults Our Lady, the pope answers by delivering a knuckle sandwich; 2) Catholics are supposed to follow in the pope’s footsteps (at least, that’s what the media rants about these days); 3) as a good Catholic I’m obliged to box the ears of anyone who insults Our Lady.

    Hope springs eternal

  46. jhayes says:

    Pope Francis on the way to the Phillipines:

    The coolest pontiff in recent memory may not judge us common sinners, but he sure has some strong words for the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo: Just because you can insult someone’s faith, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Good thing it looks like most of them were lapsed Catholics, anyway.

    “If my good friend Dr. [Alberto] Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said on his way to the Philippines Thursday, referring to the papal trip organizer. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
    […]
    Last week, the Vatican joined with four French imams to condemn the attack. Their statement said that “the world is in danger without freedom of expression,” but urged the media to consider respecting the faiths of others while exercising that right.

    HERE