Originally posted by
married with children
I think we have gotten a little off topic. I think that most of us believe that what the pastor did was not correct, that his words spoken were not christian, and that it was a bad choice. The question was posted to see if we think that the
I think we have gotten a little off topic. I think that most of us believe that what the pastor did was not correct, that his words spoken were not christian, and that it was a bad choice. The question was posted to see if we think that the government should condemn a US citizen for his free speech. The president takes a oath to protect the constitution and all its freedoms that our forefathers took the time to put down on that piece of paper.
No, the government has no business publicly condemning a citizen for exercising free speech as long as no laws were broken in exercising the free speech. However, society can and will and SHOULD be able to freely criticize divisive statements and attitudes. So, while it is fine to have a public backlash against divisive speech and behavior, the government needs to stay out of it unless the rights of another party are *directly* violated by the person supposedly exercising his or her rights.
I don't AT ALL agree with what the pastor did and find it extremely disrespectful, distasteful, and unnecessary. But the reason I believe the government should stay out of it is because the government cannot legislate morality and still preserve the freedoms of a wide variety of people who hold different belief systems
If the government did try to legislate morality, whose morality should we choose to dictate to everyone else? If the government condemns one act of free speech because it offends people, then the government should condemn any act of free speech that offends another group of people. And we definitely should not kowtow and capitulate to those who would murder innocent people just because they're, like, pissed off, ya know? If anger over someone else's actions and words can be taken seriously as a legitimate justification of murder, there would not be ANY semblance of civilization.
Holding the pastor guilty of the actions of a third party is unreasonable. We are EACH responsible for our own actions. We cannot be held responsible for anyone else's. The pastor is responsible for burning a book that is sacred to a specific group of people and uttering inflammatory speech. His actions and words were offensive to many people. But being offended by someone else's behavior is never, never, NEVER justification for harming another person, let alone taking another person's life. The terrorists are responsible for freely choosing to take innocent lives in response to their anger. It is the terrorists and the terrorists alone who have blood on their hands. I don't buy into this "but you pissed me off so much that I just HAD to do this" crap. That is the mindset of those who blame rape victims and those who routinely engage in domestic violence. Their actions are never their own responsibility; there is always someone else to blame for their freely-chosen actions.
Do we want the government to start condemning all acts of free speech? I can guarantee you that no matter what it is being demonstrated, there will be someone who deems their beliefs and actions to be immoral and distasteful.
That said, I want to emphasize that I understand that we do not live in a vacuum. I strongly believe we should accept that our statements and actions can and do hurt others and thus make a concentrated effort to be more respectful. I have always believed in the importance of being respectful to others REGARDLESS of whether we receive respect in return. There is merit in being considerate to others simply because we want to be respectful people. But we can't make others be respectful in return. We just need to try to take the high road and do our best not to join those who offend us in the gutter.