Free speech gunned down

Free speech gunned down

THE archaic concept of blasphemy, the perceived affront to one’s deeply held religious beliefs, raises its ugly head yet again with the barbaric shootings in Paris.

Regardless of the actual content of the offending cartoons, and ignoring the obvious provocative nature of cartoons as a genre, what kind of insecurity drives such a violent response to satire and criticism?

The right to blaspheme, to criticise bad ideas, is a cornerstone of modern civilisation, and no idea, least of all religion, is above such criticism.

As 19th century American lawyer and political leader Robert Ingersoll said: “Blasphemy is an epithet bestowed by superstition upon common sense.”

Are we going to be cowered into submission by these bullies, or are we going to defend free speech and our inalienable right to criticise any and all superstitious beliefs?

Peter Rowney
Lemon Tree Passage

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