The commentators 19-01-15
...on religion and freedom
We live in the age of a new super-pope. Forbes magazine called Francis the fourth most powerful man in the world; he has been tipped for a Nobel Peace Prize. There are downsides to that. Disappointment often trails promise, and we mustn’t forget that the Church is bigger than just the Pope. Nevertheless, as the West slowly surrenders its claim to leadership over the world, it is fortunate there is a charismatic transitional figure telling of peace, rather than seeking votes.
- Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph
The truth about Britain today, as expressed by Tony Parsons in the Sunday Sun, is that Britons tend not to insult other people’s religions, not because we’re afraid to, but because we are essentially polite. It is one of the bedrocks of Britain’s society: the relative mutual politeness that leads so many of us to say sorry when someone gets in our way.
- Stefano Hadfield, The Independent
When someone says that he 'loves the Prophet' — or indeed, as American preachers are especially fond of intoning, that he 'loves the Lord Jesus' — those of us devoid of religious faith don't just find this strange: we struggle to understand what that 'love' could feel like. And so, in the debate between the right of freedom of speech on the one hand, and claims for the special respect that should be accorded to religious sentiment on the other, there is a void of incomprehension.
- Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail
France is yet to strike the right balance between freedom of speech and the use of existing hate laws. President Hollande declared that the 3 police officers in the Charlie Hebdo attacks died defending free speech; but then why are approximately 40 students (mostly Muslim) possibly facing prosecution for not joining in the minutes silence for the victims, on the grounds that it amounted to ‘glorifying terrorism’? It is hardly teaching the value of free speech to prosecute these students, whilst it is considered fair to show Prophet Mohammed naked on a magazine cover.
- Bloomberg View
Britain's political leaders paraded in support of the scurrilous Charlie Hebdo. That would be the same politicians who have spent years persecuting the UK's "vulgar" tabloid Press, and stitched up a deal with Hugh Grant's Hacked Off campaign to try to impose the first system of state-backed Press regulation for 300 years
- Mick Hume, The Sun
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