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The Moral Right to Offend the Religious
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So let me get this straight. A lone individual, living in the US, makes a (very) low budget movie about a desert warrior (at least the actors thought so --and I confirm that for having watched the movie/trailer several times and paid close attention to the sound editing--) and then dumb the soundtrack at post production to turn the movie into an anti islamic piece.

(nb: So far, YouTube is holding on, standing for free speech, despite having blocked access to the video in three countries, and the movie is still available on the site, but just in case something goes wrong, I downloaded it).

This then leads to the death of an ambassador; the same highly regarded diplomatic individual who helped the locals one year before to get rid of their old dictator. Moreover, some locals are asking for an apology from nobody else than the president of the United States; stating it as a "right". Those lunatics have not yet got the fact that in free civilised countries, people are responsible for their own actions and that has nothing to do with the president, but let aside the classical religious nut (mis)understanding of freedom and personal responsibility, let aside the fact that with accordance to their logic we should send them the list of things that they do and that we, civilised countries citizens, are offended by and demand that they stop doing, what shocks me is that they think they have the *right* not to be offended.

I could spend hours debunking this sub-species (seriously I don't even think of them as human any more) of religious nuts and their primitive thinking, but (it's quite early, 5.30am UTC+1, at the time those lines are written and) I will let author Daniel Fincke take the stage and remind to everybody that there is no such thing as "the right not to be offended".

Below is extracted from No, Not Everyone Has A Moral Right To Feel Offended By Just Any Satire or Criticism [ link ]


The Moral Right to Offend the Religious

But what about the religious? Don’t they have the moral right to get offended when their beliefs or their revered figures are flagrantly mocked in public?

No. They have the moral right to feel irritated and they have the legal right to feel offended. But if they try to use moral or legal means to prevent their ideas, identities, institutions, values, or leaders from being satirized then they are saying it is immoral for others to subject these things to harsh scrutiny.

This is because the only bases which they could possibly have for treating these things as off limits to criticism, including mockery, is the authority of their religious traditions. Their religious traditions may explicitly or implicitly guide them to never treat certain things with irreverence, critical thought, or mockery. If that is the case, it is understandable that they feel personally or communally bound not to do so. I think it is bad and unhealthy for them to do this since putting anything off limits to criticism and mockery stifles their likelihood of rejecting or improving any inadequate ideas they might have. But it is their prerogative morally and legally insofar as people are morally and legally free to be mistaken and to hold false moral ideas whose harms to themselves and others are sufficiently limited in scope.

But the moment that the religious insist that their gods or ideas or values or revered leaders or institutions or books, etc. be off limits from intellectual or artistic or interpersonal criticisms (including ones which have extremely sharp and irreverent humorous edges to them) lest they be offended, they are insisting that their traditions and beliefs, etc., are morally in principle above reproach. This demands implicitly of all outsiders to their tradition that we treat their tradition’s attitudes about what is sacred, inviolable, and never to be criticized as our own. This effectively demands that we take their religious judgments as our own moral guideline and to let them restrict our own abilities to pass moral and intellectual judgment according to our own consciences.

In effect this demands us to adopt their religious values as our own. This is too much for them to demand of us. This is a violation of our own moral and legal rights to intellectual and moral conscience. To be offended at our exercise of our own rights to criticism (including artistic or intellectually forms of mockery that have the potential to be insightful) is to assert a moral claim against our consciences. But our consciences should feel innocent here. The religious have no right to make such claims on our consciences, either morally or legally. Therefore, they should not take offense—no matter how irritated they may be or how substantively wrong they may think our implicitly or explicitly made claims may be.

Atheists (and others) have the moral right to critically satirize religious ideas, values, institutions, people, identities, practices, etc. The religious may get irritated as they wish. They may respond with their own satires or vigorous intellectual criticisms if they wish. But morally they do not have the right to complain we have assaulted their dignity or disrespected them simply because we criticize them or use impersonal humor as part of doing so. Therefore they have no moral right to be offended. To claim otherwise is to claim that non-adherents to a religion are bound to respect that religion’s precepts about sacredness even in violation of the non-adherent’s own conscience. That is a morally unconscionable demand.


In other words, Muslims may be forbidden to show or mock their own prophet but non-muslims can. Get used to it. And if they don't like it they can just mock something I like and respect. Good luck with that though...


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