Hi! My name’s Krystal. I’m a born-again, Bible believing Christian. Though I personally am an Evangelical, I have great respect for both the Pope and the Catholic Church. However, I do not believe the Pope or the Church are infallible. God and His Word hold exclusive dibs to infallibility in my book. That said…
This week on a trip to the Philippines, Pope Francis took time to speak on the recent, horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. During his speech, he stated that there are “limits” to free speech, and said:
“One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”
It is one thing to mock a person. We call that bullying… harassment, even. But when did it become unacceptable to express one’s opinions about a system religious beliefs? (Unless, of course, in expressing that opinion you call for the death of anyone who disagrees with you about it… here’s looking at you, Muhammad.)
The Pope is supposed to be the supreme spiritual authority on earth, representing God’s will and way for all mankind. Thus, one would assume he would base his statements, including this one on limiting free speech, on the Word of God. Thing is, I’ve read the Good Book cover to cover a number of times and I just don’t find that notion anywhere.
What I do find? Jesus pointing out religious hypocrisy – regularly. And using terms like “brood of vipers,” and “white walled tombs” to do it. Perhaps the Pope doesn’t find those words of Jesus provocative or offensive, though…
So, let’s look elsewhere. Possibly the best Biblical example of freedom of expression when it comes to mocking the belief system of another is found in the Old Testament, on Israel’s Mt. Carmel. In an epic battle of God vs. god (read all about it), the Prophet Elijah mercilessly taunts the followers of Baal:
Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
Provoke, insult, make fun of another person’s faith… I think Elijah pretty much had a monopoly on that. I don’t want to give it away or anything, but a few verses later, the Israelites slaughter the prophets of Baal and their leader, Queen Jezebel, is eaten by dogs. God is pleased, and Israel lives happily ever after. For awhile, anyway.
The fact of the matter is, while making fun of a religion may not be politically correct, it’s definitely not Biblically incorrect, and limited “free speech” is anything but.