Forgive him, Father, for he is a moron

jesus facepalm
What we really need in this case is a Jesus face-punch
I know I said that the Church will survive a bad Pope. May the good Lord give me strength enough to continue believing that, because this particular Pope is making it very difficult to take him seriously:
“I believe that religious freedom and freedom of speech are both fundamental human rights,” Pope Francis said on his flight to the Philippines Thursday morning. But “freedom of expression has limits,” he added. 
During his flight from Sri Lanka to Manila, Philippines, Pope Francis spent 45 minutes engaging in a Q&A with journalists from around the world. Sebastien Maillard, representing the French daily newspaper La Croix, brought up the attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and asked the Pope whether, in his opinion, there are limits on freedom of expression out of regard for religious freedom. 
Francis replied that everyone has the right to practice their religion without offending others. “You cannot go to war, killing in the name of their religion, that is, in the name of God,” he said. “This is an aberration.” 
Regarding free speech, the Pope also said that “everyone not only has the freedom and the right but also the duty to speak one’s mind for the sake of the common good. But without offending.” He did not speak, however, of legal limits but suggested the need for self-regulation. 
The Pope offered an example. “If Dr. Gasbarri”—the organizer of the Pope’s trips, who was standing next to the Pope—“who is a great friend of mine, insults my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. You cannot provoke, you cannot insult the faith of others, you cannot mock the religion of others,” he said.
Uh, look, I'm just an unwashed heathen, I barely know my Gospel of Matthew from Luke or John. But I'm pretty sure that the Lord Christ mentioned something about turning the other cheek... right?
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Ah. I wasn't imagining things. He did mention a thing or two about it in His teachings.

I guess Jorge Mario Bergoglio must have slept through that particular lesson at Sunday school.

So basically, according to Pope Francis, we are now supposed to ignore some two thousand years' worth of Christian doctrine, and we are now meant to punch those who offend us in the face, instead of praying for their redemption, and trying to lead them to betterment and salvation?

If this is supposed to be the shepherd sent to watch over and guide God's flock, I'd say it's time to find a sheepdog. One with really big teeth.

On a somewhat more serious note- it is worth remembering that there is a limit to free speech. The Pope is actually sort of right about this. He just hasn't got a clue what he's talking about.

Your right to say whatever you want ends where my right to defend myself and my reputation begins. If you slander me, if you bear false witness against me, if you incite violence against me without just cause, then you have far overstepped your right to free speech, and no amount of equivocating can change this.

Speech which is dangerous, but true, must not only be protected, it must be encouraged. What, after all, is Christianity, if not some of the most dangerous Truth ever heard? The entire Christian faith is a direct attack upon the sovereignty of kings and judges, for it argues that the Kingdom of God is entirely removed from the jurisdiction of Earthly prelates and princes. That is the source of its simple yet awesome power: the Word of Christ is what it is, Truth unvarnished in all of its glory. That Truth was so dangerous to those same rulers that for more than two hundred years after its revelation, followers of the faith were persecuted and subjected to truly horrible tortures and deaths.

Furthermore, you do NOT have a right not to be offended. I can offend you all I like by stating things that you do not like to hear- I routinely insult and offend people on this blog for any number of reasons, but that alone is not sufficient reason to try to shut down my writing. If I offend you by writing something true that you don't like, that's YOUR problem.

If, however, I offend you by writing something that is patently untrue and thereby slander you, that's MY problem.

It then falls to you to decide what you want to do about it.

Here's a hint: punching me in the face won't do very much, even when you factor in the reality that jawbones are more likely to break fingers than the other way around.

If I call your mother a whore, then you have a few options.

You can do the Christian thing, which is to try to convince me of the wrongness of my view through love and compassion.

You could do what Pope Bruce Lee there suggests and punch me. Unless you catch me by surprise and hit me very hard in the right spot, you will probably just end up with a sore hand- and at least one or two other broken bits, which I promise will hurt.

Or you could do what the average LIN will do and yell JIHAAAAAAAAAAAD!!! And then suffer from premature detonation in the process.


Ultimately, how you choose to respond indicates how grown-up you are. The Christian approach may not be immediately satisfying, but it is by far the most mature. Christians- real Christians- aren't intimidated by threats of violence. The central founding event of their faith was an act of appalling violence- the crucifixion was not exactly a picnic, after all.

By contrast, the Loony Islamist Nutbag response is as childish as you can imagine. Not for nothing do we reactionary types think of Islam as a literally feminist ideology. The violent response, as satisfying as it might be in the short term, is simply stupid, because it provokes those of us who aren't prone to fits of panty-twisting violence to react in rather unpleasant ways.

Free speech, like all rights in a civilised society, must be protected- and must be earned by proving that those who exercise it are fit to wield it. Pope Francis's approach is to discard the very methods by which free people can demonstrate that fitness- and in espousing such an approach, all that the Pope shows us is what a poor thinker he is on the very subjects that he is supposed to know best.

It is at times like these that I am simply forced to conclude that the Big Fella Upstairs has a truly amazing gift for practical jokes.

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