ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Pope Francis, speaking of last week’s deadly attacks by Islamist militants in Paris, has defended freedom of expression, but said it was wrong to provoke others by insulting their religion and that one could “expect” a reaction to such abuse.“You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,” he told reporters on Thursday, aboard a plane taking him from Sri Lanka to the Philippines to start the second leg of his Asian tour. Pope Francis, who has condemned the Paris attacks, was asked about the relationship between freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
“I think both freedom of religion and freedom of expression are both fundamental human rights,” he said, adding that he was talking specifically about the Paris killings.
“Everyone has not only the freedom and the right but the obligation to say what he thinks for the common good … we have the right to have this freedom openly without offending,” he said.
It is obvious that nowadays millions do not know what faith is. I don’t mean a faith in religion that you have because of the way you have been brought up. Faith and spiritual things are things that you deeply feel, that cannot be rationalised.
The Pope said “If someone says a curse word against my mother, you get a punch.” Exactly. What about respect? Some of the cartoons in Charlie Hebdo defile religon. Stephen Glover describes some of them in the Mail here.
What is the point of deliberately degrading the deep belief of another person? Criticism, yes, ridicule sure, but defiling and degrading the faith of other people to me is wrong and is going too far.
Free speech is not free of restriction in any country. Definition of free speech is here. Limitations to free speech include the “offence principle” in the case of religious belief.