The absurd idea that we should "respect" other religions and cultures
This shows a basic lack of understanding of what a free society is. A free society is one in which you have the right to believe nonsense, and I have the right to call it nonsense. You don't have to "respect" my stupid beliefs. And I don't have to "respect" yours. But we both must agree to leave the other alone to believe what they want in peace. So many so-called "liberals" fail to understand this basic building block of a western liberal society.
- jesusandmo.net cartoon on the idea that we have to "respect" other people's beliefs.
- It's time to get serious, Theodore Dalrymple, The Spectator, 11 February 2006, on the Muhammed cartoons hysteria:
- "It is abject nonsense to say that we understand and even share to some degree the primitive Muslim outrage expressed ... at the Danish cartoons, in the unctuous Clintonian sense of feeling their pain. Perhaps we understand the outrage in the anthropological sense, as a symptom of injured pride and the thuggishness that injured pride generates. But that is not what Jack Straw ... meant, or rather intended us to think he meant."
- "We do not, most of us, respect Islam any more than we respect people who speak in tongues. What we respect is the right of Muslims to practise their religion in perfect peace, in so far as it does not conflict with our laws. ... Tolerance is not a matter of respecting what is tolerated - if it were, tolerance would hardly be necessary."
- "Surely Muslims in this country and elsewhere know perfectly well that we, most of us, do not respect their religion, in the sense of according it highintellectual, moral or artistic status in the modern world ... Some among them find this intolerable"
- He is appalled at politicians' response to the cartoons hysteria: "Instead, Muslims should be told quite clearly that our citizens have the legal right to criticise, lampoon, ridicule and mock Mohammed to their heart's content, in any way that they wish: that Islam and Muslims have no special claim to protection from the rough and tumble of post-Enlightenment intellectual, political and social life. If they cannot live in a society in which this is the case, they should go somewhere else"
- The atheist Johann Hari on Islam, 14 August 2008: "Insulating a religion from criticism - surrounding it with an electric fence called "respect" - keeps it stunted at its most infantile and fundamentalist stage. The smart, questioning and instinctively moral Muslims - the majority - learn to be silent, or are shunned (at best). ... So why do many people who cheer The Life Of Brian and Jerry Springer: The Opera turn into clucking Mary Whitehouses when it comes to Islam? ... It is condescending to treat Muslims like excitable children who cannot cope with the probing, mocking treatment we hand out to Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism."
- Oliver Kamm:
- Religious tests and public office: "If you're a religious believer, don't ask me for respect; you don't have it. Call me an "Islamophobe" or a "Christianophobe" and I will accept these terms as compliments ... If you seek legal protection for your religious beliefs (as opposed to the freedom to worship any god or none) then I will oppose you and accept no compromise. But leave me and (more important) my fellow citizens alone, and I will remain indifferent to whatever myths of origins and eschatology you espouse."
- Demanding respect. Q. "So are you saying that it is "inherently unreasonable" for any religious group to ask for respect?" A. "Yes, of course. The most, as well as the least, that any religious group is entitled to is freedom of belief, conscience, speech, worship and association, and that there be no religious test for public office. To ask for respect as well is inherently unreasonable."
- Oliver Kamm, August 14, 2008: "I strongly reject the notion that belief in the sacred is entitled to protection, whether by voluntary indulgence or legal sanction. The principle of respect for other people's deepest beliefs is not one I hold, and I consider its implications are pernicious."
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