Shall We Ridicule Sacred Beliefs?
As teenagers in school we studied the Inquisition; today we understand and totally reject its principals and its methods; we are embarrassed to admit that it was sponsored by Catholic and Protestant churches of the day. To sooth our guilty conscience we attempt to deny its very existence and scope.
Today some Catholic and Protestant theologians attempt to reduce the severity of the inquisition. They are embarrassed by it, as they should be. A brief Internet search reveals many inconsistencies and denials in the numbers of victims tortured, murdered and robbed by the Inquisition. Your search will also reveal a surprising inconsistency in who is to blame for the atrocities perpetrated by the Inquisition. Christian apologists admit to little blame and shift most blame to “secular authorities”. It is shameful how soon we forget the atrocities of the past and wipe clean the slate of responsibility.
Today we face another type of religion-based inquisition by radical Islam. Shall we treat this inquisition with patience and understanding? Shall we allow it to thrive and spread? It threatens, “under the penalty of death”, that any criticism or ridicule of Islam will result in execution.” Can and should the civilized nations of the world be intimidated and allow this to happen? Of course not.
Instead, we must recognize radical Islam for what it is and resist its violence on all fronts. The recent terrorist bombings and murder of cartoonists, who depicted and ridiculed the Muslim Deity, Allah, and His prophet Mohamed, indicate the power and influence of Muslim clergy and the emotional instability of its followers. Shall our descendants look back on today’s terrorism and wonder why the civilized nations of the world tolerated it. How could one religion impose its beliefs with impunity upon other religions, and upon all the democratic nations of the world? How could this have happened? Certainly the free democratic nations of the world would never attempt to impose their political beliefs upon Islamic nations. And certainly, today a Christian nation would not attempt to impose its religious beliefs upon a Muslim nation.
Our founding fathers recognized the dangers inherent in a government ruled by a religious faction. The US Constitution and Bill of Rights, and other statements by our founding fathers make this separation of church and state abundantly clear. Unfortunately this separation of government and church is threatened by Christian radicals who believe the U.S. is a Christian nation and should be governed with the principals found in the Ten Commandments. These Christian radicals remind us of their Muslim brethren in their intolerance of other religious beliefs and science.
Thomas Jefferson recognized the dangers inherent in the mixing of religion with government.
“In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.”
“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814
“I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.” TJ
“False religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time have been maintained through the church-state. To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propaganda of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.” No citizen “shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever”
-Thomas Jefferson in the Virginia Statue
“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 30 July, 1816
Our third president had no objection to using ridicule to demonstrate the cruelty and stupidity and emotionality of religion. Neither should we. By word or cartoon, the free nations of the world must speak out for freedom of the press and the freedom for all citizens to speak their mind. – CGG
The free nations of the world cannot be intimidated by the ramblings of religious radicals. Today, after the murder of cartoonists and editorial staff, the world press is still reluctant to publish the cartoons that generated the fury of Muslim radicals. This is wrong! The cartoons must be published by the world press and made available to all who wish to see them in defiance of the radicals. A religion that is incapable of taking criticism is too fragile to survive and not worthy of inspiring a following of believers. The free press must take a strong stand on this issue. Radical Islam must expect a harsh response to their expectation that the free press will bow down to their demands. Now, more than ever, satirized pictures of Allah and Mohamed need to be published, just as is pictures of Jesus, Buddha and an almost unlimited variety of deities are routinely published in all free press outlets, films, and books.
Only intolerant, hateful, and insecure religions retain the ignorant policies of their past. We cannot indulge their passion and encourage their leaders. The world’s free press must take a stand and we the public must stand with them. This is our chance to make a difference. No religion, no philosophy, no theology, no political theory should be immune from criticism and ridicule.