Thursday, 15 January 2015

What the Pope said?

"Mock Islam and expect a punch" the Pope APPARENTLY said yesterday on the day a Belgium suburban street was turned into deadly chaos by terrorists. Surely the media have misquoted him? Surely he meant to ask his Moslem friends (as I do) to explore Luke 6:29 or Matthew 5.39 (see ).  I would be amazed if this new and radical pope was wanting to suggest that religions should not be subject to critical investigation or satire. Perhaps I will be amazed, the IDEA that Catholicism has anything in common with religious fundamentalism is surely regressive? Or........... I sure hope the Pope has been misreported. If he had meant to contrast how some Muslims respond to provocation and how Jesus said one should respond I can follow. And if he stressed the difference between satirising a dead leader and personal attacks on individual believers that would be quite understandable, Any mocking and abuse of "the person in the street" is QUITE Wrong. But the problem we face is that of disproportionate response and if the Pope were to say a word justifies a punch and he meant to say this, I would be totally APPALLED. There is another test to apply here, well established in Western Liberal Throught. That of the notion of public interest, it is why politicians are mocked. Once you set up a system and become responsible for its operation, you enter the public domain. it has long been a principle and certainly one the French revolution applied, that strong public debate including satire follows. It is a principle I would be extremely loath to abandon. It leads to another word at the heart of all this. What does respect mean? I think we should respect those who we differ with, it is very important, but that does not mean to cow-tow. And when those we differ with over ideas move to physical violence we either have to turn the other cheek or as many humans do, we will finally snap. On our streets for very many years now, with those who peddle this violent extremism, we have turned the other cheek to. They have been allowed to express themselves. I rather think that the first days of 2015 may come to show that the West reaches the point of snapping.

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