Tuesday, February 7, 2006

more on cartoons (no pun intended)

This sort of a follow up to Gil's posting on the whole Danish cartoon controversy. I heard today that an Iranian newspaper is holding a cartoon contest on the Holocaust as a way of testing the West's resolve to honor the freedom of speech they are claiming in defense of the original cartoons.
This obviously a deeply disturbing situation. And this latest development only confirms my resolve on my position in this matter:
I believe in Freedom of Speech - not as a moral right but as an honorable virtue amoung respectable human beings. We should allow other people to voice their opinions as freely as they wish - knowing that truth is it's own defense. We need not prop God up with protests or retaliation. A lack of tolerance toward our fellow person deny's them the gift of free will so central to the identitiy of humanity. Free will is also central to the essence of gospel - which holds the beauty of redemption in the individual's ability to choose God.
I trust it is obviously clear that for humanity to function well it must at times deny the ability to exercise free will to the benefit of the greater society. But for us to expect or demand people to deny their free will (what they often have come to see as a right) is ludicrous.
This retaliatory foray is disturbing and will no doubt reduce the credibility of Islamic people all over the globe even further. Let us pray that someone will choose the strength of denying themselves in this situation...


Ryan Dueck said...

"I believe in Freedom of Speech - not as a moral right but as an honorable virtue amoung respectable human beings."

First of all, human beings have proven remarkablay adept at demonstrating that they are far from 'respectable,' and far from consistent in displaying anything resembling 'honorable virtue.' I am not convinced that freedom of speech is necessarily the be-all, end-all of human existence. I don't think that you would defend someone's right to freely express themselves in the form of child pornography. Nor should you. Nor should ANYBODY! That's the point. We say that we believe in freedom of speech, but it clearly has its limits in practice, and it OUGHT to have limits. We are moral creatures, after all, and our stupid, offensive, ingorant, and immoral ideas ought to be held in check, at least SOME of the time shouldn't they?

Re: the cartoon situation. I'm not convinced that we can pin our hopes on 'someone choosing the strength of denying themselves in this situation.' Human beings aren't very good at this at the best of times, not to mention when they perceive that they have been grievously offened. I'm not sure that the solution is a severely punitive state (like Iran, with the Shariah law) but unrestrained freedom sometimes seems to be equally dangerous.

Incoming... said...

point well taken...
to be clear I do NOT believe in Free Speech as a 'right'. but while i believe strongly that naked children should only be seen by their mothers and father in the bathtub occasionally and NOT on the internet. I simply will never advocate the outright killing of the perverts who denigrate humanity in that way. And saying that is not defending their RIGHT to do pornography. They don't have a right to do that. but they can and they obviously and shamefully will and do. That is what I mean by virtue - it is honorable to extend grace to people to express themselves in the fullness of free will that they have been given. It is the work of redemption on the other hand that seeks not only to change the actions of the villians who produce pornography but to help those equally sick individuals who create a market for this material. So when you say that freedom of speech OUGHT to have limits you are absolutely right. That limit is precisely the exercise of denying one's own rights to allow other people's points of view and to dole out the redemptive work of grace to bring about the sensitivity that fosters respect.
You are absolutely right that, "our stupid, offensive, ignorant*, and immoral ideas ought to be held in check,". I would suggest that the restriction when applied by the law is largely ineffective and should rather come as a result of personal and corporate conviction on moral standards to be EFFECTIVE. I understnad completely that this means that we must consider forebearing our brother 70 times 7. But it also means that instead of bitching about these lunatics who spout off at the mouth (which amounts to little more than the caotic rioting we've seen in the Middle East) we need to get off our asses and set about the real work of redemption.

I trust there is enough faith left to hope for that.