77

Blaming the Victims

Fan of Free Speech

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is fuzzy on this whole free speech thing:

Bill Donohue comments on the killing of 12 people at the Paris office of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo:

Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.

Those who work at this newspaper have a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of their depictions of religious figures. For example, they have shown nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms. They have also shown Muhammad in pornographic poses.

Go here to read the rest.  So, on the day on which 12 people have been massacred by members of the religion of peace over their hurt feelings, Bill Donohue climbs his soap box to lecture us on what a scurrilous magazine Charlie Hebdo was.  I agree.   It was a hateful rag that despised all religions.  However, that is the essence of freedom of speech:  to protect the proclamation of ideas that we despise.  Speech that the majority likes, or that is so anodyne as to offend no one, needs no protection.  In this case freedom of speech was negated by mass murder.  That Donohue chose this day to get a bit of cheap publicity by blasting the victims of the mass murder is truly beneath contempt.  Quite a few people in our society view the preaching of Catholic doctrine as being hateful.  They would gladly shut us up to spare the hurt feelings, for example, that the proclamation of the teaching that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil causes some.  When we allow hurt feelings to determine who can speak and who should be forced into silence, we are well on way to bidding farewell to a free society.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

77 Comments

  1. Great posting Mr. McClarey.
    Do the feelings of the mourners count?
    The families that have lost their loved ones. Does Mr. Donohue share compassion with them?

  2. According to Bill Donaghue, “What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years…”

    And those of us who are not Muslims may consider ribald derision and scathing contempt the appropriate response to superstition and ignorance.

  3. . Donohue pays himself $400,000 a year from donations …almost twice what a proctologist makes…and I think it is appropriate because he certainly gives me a double pain in the ass.

  4. Thank you Donald McClarey for this insight into the way forward. Dr. Donohue of the Catholic League explains why the terrorists were inflamed but he does not countenance how the terrorists behaved. Assuming on all fronts that terrorism is condemned, Dr. Donohue did need to produce the law by which to go forth: the right to free speech and the consequences for our speech which would be what Donald McClarey has posted here.

  5. Equal Justice requires that the penalty be commensurate with the crime. The terrorists need to produce a nation so lily white that Charlie Hebdo is seen for what it is: beneath contempt.

  6. I’m slowly growing utterly infuriated by people acting like the satire was out of the blue.

    It’s like there was a group at a gathering, walking around being threatening, obscene and occasionally violent. Some members are being fine, and one or two try to tell the violent ones to cut it out, but they’re not stopped.
    Other folks at the gathering start to be rude to the nasty guys; a couple of guys rattle off an obscene suggestion of where they can go and what the rude guy can do to the horse he rode in on.
    The guys who have been rude, disruptive and violent since they got there pull out a gun and shoot the one that responded a fraction as rudely.
    And now people are standing up to denounce… the guys who flipped off the violent, rude guys, for doing it in a way that might offend the members of the group that weren’t stopping the violent, rude guys?

  7. I’ve not been a huge fan of Donahue in recent years … but let’s admit he has a mission and plays out that mission, and it is a fair critique that a voice reminds folks on the less than uber innocence of that organization. I do not pretend that TAC has always been more noble than he.

  8. Foxfier: “I’m slowly growing utterly infuriated by people acting like the satire was out of the blue.”

    .
    In Man for all Seasons, St. Thomas More tells Will Roper, his so-in-law “If he offends God, then, let God arrest him.” Separation of church and state. That is why we, the people have a constitution. Unless a theocracy is based of the ultimate love of God and neighbor as oneself, all the law of God and the prophets, it is a tyranny of the lame minded.
    .
    The assailants ought to have been evangelizing the culprits, rather than eliminating them. Islam does not evangelize the neighbor. Islam eliminates the neighbor. Therefore, Islam does not love God as God has commanded.

  9. It’s correct to question the timing of Donohue’s post, but poor timing does not invalidate his arguments.
    .
    I don’t seem him blaming the victims. He tries to bring into focus the lack of respect for things people hold personal and sacred and how this creates friction, friction that can boil over into unjustified terrorism. His point is to say both sides in this situation show intolerance, and showing more tolerance and respect on each side would simmer the acrimony down. He expresses this personally when he says “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me, either, but it would never occur to me to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing him.”
    .
    I’m sure he understands freedom of speech, and nowhere did I see him suggesting any abridging of it.

  10. No he does not understand freedom of speech. This sentence says it all:

    “But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.”

    What the devil does that mean except for either state action or vigilante action to shut down the magazine. People are free to criticize what the magazine does, but that was not the point that publicity hound Donohue was seeking to make. He is as bad as the idiots on the left with their campus speech codes.

  11. “But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.”
    Is there a list of all the various intolerances I can refer back to? Like, where does pure jackassery fall, versus fauxhomophobia, versus beheading? Which intolerances rate which punishment and from whom? Will there be a vote?
    Just pray for the souls of the departed, Mr. Donahue; they were dear to somebody. Don’t try to lead us down a road that can only end in a scaffold for Christians.

  12. No he does not understand freedom of speech. This sentence says it all:”
    .
    His call for not tolerating what this magazine was doing is not necessarily a call for legal action. It could be as simple as public shaming. I think your post it trying to do something very similar with regards to Donohue’s post. No? Yet, I don’t think you are calling for limiting free speech.

  13. Every one of us believe in some level of limiting free speech … usually our conscience and common sense acts as the appropriate guide, but we know this falls pretty flat in the regulatory realm. I agree, a little shame can be a useful effort.

  14. I came across a link to this at the Speccie Coffee House blog…

    “I am DONE!!! Whenever I try to say, it’s okay, terrorism is not Islam, ANOTHER TERRORIST ATTACK DONE BY MUSLIMS COMES UP ON THE NEWS!!! I am having panic attacks, and want to kill myself. WHAT MAKES ME FEEL HORRIBLE IS THAT I CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!! I am useless, I can’t stop these terrorists, and how come only Muslims do these kind of attacks. I’m SICK AND TIRED OF ALL THE CRAP! I am tired of uselessness, muslims keep killing, so it makes me wonder, are we really a religion of peace? I will never be accepted, just because i’m muslim. I used to blame them….but now I am started to hate us…… I am starting to hate muslim, I BEING ONE! Maybe I won’t be for long. IN PARIS JUST NOW!!! 12 PEOPLE KILLED, STUPID TERRORISTS SAYING ALLAHHUAKBAR AND OH MY GOD I’M DONE!!!!!! I AM DONE!!! Why do they keep doing this, what can we do. Why doesn’t Allah help the muslim UMMAH!!! Why are we not being helped. I pray and pray for this to stop but it never does. It makes me feel like duas do not work. WHY WON’T ALLAH HELP US! WHY CAN”T WE BE SAVED!!! WHY WAS I BORN MUSLIM!!! I am also moving to the US and I will be bullied to death so might as well kill myself now. WHY CAN’T WE MUSLIMS TAKE CRITISM OF SOME STUPID CARTOONS!!! They are just cartoons, WTF!!! I want to DIE. What do I do, I can’t just put my fingers in my ears and scream LALALALALA I see and hear nothing, I see and hear nothing…IT IS HAPPENING!!! I don’t understand, WHY AM I USELESS, WHY DOESNT THE WORLD JUST END………”

    Utterly heartbreaking to read.

    Please pray for this poor tortured soul and what years of experience teaches me are many many like her…

  15. It’s hard amidst emotional turmoil to maintain important distinctions, but here’s a try: there is no “right to free expression.” A rightly ordered society does not allow any and every opinion to be voiced with no ramification. In our country, we’ve gone from a clear understanding of the limits of “free speech” to a wide open, no holds barred allowance of the much broader “free expression.”

    In the US, the First Amendment forbids the government(and really, only the federal government) from abridging free speech. There is no general right to free speech that prevents one from being ostracized, criticized, boycotted, and even sued for offensive speech. Rightly understood, the First Amendment doesn’t even prevent a state from restricting “speech.”

    Absolutism about “free expression” has brought us unhindered pornography, grotesquely violent movies and games, and yes, utterly socially worthless offensive “art” such as “Piss Christ” and these offensive-to-Islam cartoons.

    It is entirely possible to hold the intellectual position that the incendiary “speech” (not really speech at all, but “expression”) practiced by Charlie Hebdo should never have been allowed in the first place; and at the same time to recognize that summary execution of the editors and two police officers merits only the deaths of the perpetrators.

    I would say that “Piss Christ” for example, was not any form of protected speech under the constitution; but that having been disseminated, it would have been utterly evil for, say, a Knight of Columbus to shoot up the museum and kill the “artist.” Just so with this case in France.

  16. Kyle,
    Donohue had absolutely no tolerance for the freedom of speech of the non Catholic owner of the Empire State Building which had feted a Pope in the past but would not fete Mother Teresa perhaps in a change of policy to insure they never had to fete really odd religious characters in the future eg Jihadists in their use of private resources. He then went beyond words to intolerance in action and tried to hurt them in the pocketbook. I believe Donohue makes money in part from quite poor old city Catholics who have no idea of the salary he is drawing partly from their poverty while they cannot pay for teeth crowns after property taxes …on their small pensions. He saw at some point that rage pays big time in many small donations…maybe not Fr. Corapi bigtime…but bigtime nonetheless.

  17. “His call for not tolerating what this magazine was doing is not necessarily a call for legal action.”

    I take him at his word Kyle. If he was not calling for state action or vigilantism then his statement was truly meaningless since all of us have the freedom to criticize any speech we do not like.

  18. tolerate
    [ ˈtäləˌrāt ]
    VERB
    allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference:
    “a regime unwilling to tolerate dissent”
    synonyms: allow · permit · condone · accept · swallow · countenance · More
    Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press

    and
    interfere
    [ ˌintərˈfi(ə)r ]
    VERB
    prevent (a process or activity) from continuing or being carried out properly:
    “a job would interfere with his studies”
    synonyms: impede · obstruct · stand in the way of · hinder · inhibit · More

    Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press

    Oxford definitions via Bing’s search.
    ****
    To object is not to interfere; to answer is not to interfere; to decry is not to interfere.
    As Donald says, per his words, he says we should not allow the activity to continue or be carried out.

  19. Bill,
    We can discuss Donohue’s previous statements and theories on his compensation, but I’m discussing his latest post in regards to this act of terrorism. If it is Al Sharpton race baiting or Charlie Hebdo religion baiting, they deserve condemnation without violence.
    .
    Don,
    The public can show disapproval of certain behaviors beyond criticism without resorting to state action or vigilantism.

  20. exNOAAman,
    Looks like quite the opposite. Looks like standing ground and clarification. I don’t read anything really disagreeable.

  21. There’s a difference between Al Sharpton inciting violence against others and Charlie Hebdo inciting violence against themselves.

  22. “Don,
    The public can show disapproval of certain behaviors beyond criticism without resorting to state action or vigilantism.”

    Of course they can Kyle and if that is all that Donohue meant his statement is rendered meaningless. I think he had something else in mind a la a hate speech code which is anathema to freedom of speech.

  23. Of course they can Kyle and if that is all that Donohue meant his statement is rendered meaningless. I think he had something else in mind a la a hate speech code which is anathema to freedom of speech.
    .
    Hate speech code? Really? Even in his very latest post made today he makes clear that’s not what he is calling for. Are you calling for hate speech code because of your post condemning Donohue’s post? I don’t think so. It would be wrong for me to interpret beyond what you wrote.
    .
    if that is all that Donohue meant his statement is rendered meaningless.”
    .
    So, anything less than state action or vigilantism is meaningless??

  24. “Hate speech code?”

    Yep. Not tolerating something implies more than criticism which is what people are free to do in any case. In Donahue’s bloviating cya today he makes crystal clear his position that what Charlie Hebdo was doing does not deserve freedom of speech protection:

    “Freedom of speech is not an end—it is a means to an end. For Americans, the end is nicely spelled out in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution: the goal is to “form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

    No fair-minded reading of the Preamble suggests that it was written to facilitate the right to intentionally and persistently insult people of faith with scatological commentary. Moreover, the purpose of free speech is political discourse: it exists to protect the right of men and women to agree and disagree about the makings of the good society.”

    As a legal matter the preamble does not limit the scope of the Bill of Rights and free speech has never been limited to political speech.

  25. Yep. Not tolerating something implies more than criticism which is what people are free to do in any case
    I can think of a lot of sins I can’t tolerate, personally and otherwise. Being an intolerable sin is not enough to qualify for legal action, but intolerant it is to me.
    .
    In Donahue’s bloviating cya today he makes crystal clear his position that what Charlie Hebdo was doing does not deserve freedom of speech protection
    He’s no legal scholar. I can only assume he is taking a Justice Thomas approach, viewing the Constitution “through the lens” of what precedes it, preamble for Donohue and Declaration of Independence for Thomas.
    .
    Being as this was in France, the U.S. Constitution would have no bearing anyway.
    .
    He also made this clear…
    As I have said countless times, everyone has a legal right to insult my religion (or the religion of others), but no one has a moral right to do so.

  26. “As I have said countless times, everyone has a legal right to insult my religion (or the religion of others), but no one has a moral right to do so.”

    Then why was he at pains to argue that freedom of speech would not cover what Charlie Hebdo was doing? I agree that the Constitution of course does not apply in France, but it was Donohue’s incoherent statement, not mine. (As it happens freedom of speech in France labors under restrictions that most Americans would find galling.) The simple truth of course is that Donohue is taking a lot of heat for his first statement, so he falls back on bluster and attempts at justification. Better for him to have quit when he was behind.

  27. I think I agree with Kyle. The notion that certain behaviors should not be tolerated does not presuppose legal or violent remedies. We should not tolerate people who abuse their freedom of expression in the manner of this rag by removing them from our society. And by this I do not mean physically kicking them out of a certain place. Civilized people should consider those who routinely bully behave in wicked and mean ways, especially toward the weak, to be beneath contempt and unworthy of social intercourse. In other words they should be shunned. Those jerks at that rag should have been shunned, not killed or imprisoned.

  28. The notion that certain behaviors should not be tolerated

    Brings up interesting issues – at what point does “speech” become a “behavior” and to what extent do they overlap or are interchangeable? If the freedom of speech is intended to protect the free exchange of ideas, can behavior be a form of “exchange of ideas” and therefore protected? Was CH speech, behavior, a combination of both? Regardless, none of it could justify or excuse the terrorists’ response.

  29. Yes, and Kennybhoy, He wept when those terrorists murdered those jerks too. I don’t think He wept just because I called the late jerks, jerks.

  30. I’m anxious to know Mike and Kyle’s opinion on women’s fashion trends of the last 50-60 years and how they pertain to the current “rape crisis” on college campi.
    .

    No I’m not.

  31. In the US the written publication of words or pictures that are designed to communicate or express something is almost always within the protective ambit of the First Amendment, and this is a good thing. But just because something is legally permissible does not mean that it cannot be criticized, and that criticism can and often should include social sanction. Calls should not be returned and vendors and customers should disassociate.

  32. Reading comprehension not your strong suit, Ernst?
    Perhaps you think that the wicked murder of a jerk renders the jerk not a jerk? Wow, does the same trick work for serial rapists?

  33. Then why was he at pains to argue that freedom of speech would not cover what Charlie Hebdo was doing?
    I think he’s arguing the necessity to use prudence when exercising liberties. Expressions like what Charlie Hebdo did failed to meet the moral spirit or imperative of the preamble while be legally permitted. It’s the classic “you could do it, but should you?” argument. He answers no. Others say it’s licit because… freedom of speech, which is why he says freedom of speech is not the end.
    .
    The simple truth of course is that Donohue is taking a lot of heat…
    You could have ended the sentence there and have the same meaning. He’s takes heat for nearly everything he writes. (He has a few enemies.) But obviously the heat and criticism, e.g. this blog entry, is meaningless without state action or vigilantism. 😉
    .
    People feel inclined to hold Charlie Hebdo up as some martyr or saint of free speech. I disagree. It’s not like they were killed for speaking out for civil rights, the vulnerable or some other noble cause. (Elevate the people who do!) Charlie Hebdo is a victim of an unjust crime, an act of terrorism. Find the perps and prosecute.

  34. Yes, not all victims are martyrs, but they are victims nonetheless. I took Donohue’s statements to be entirely consistent with that.

  35. I’m more concerned about not creating a precedent for a jerk needed killing exception than I am in attempting to qualify the jerkiness of the murdered jerk or quantify the liability of the jerk for his murder.
    .
    Sticking up little Nigerian girls kidnapped by boko haram is easy. The real test is in sticking up for jerks like the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo.
    .
    And we’re doing a p*ss poor job of sticking up for little Nigerian girls.
    .
    One more thing. They actually were killed for speaking out for civil rights: The right to say things others find offensive.
    .
    And it’s the right to criticize and disagree, and even offend that’s vulnerable.

  36. No one here is remotely advocating for such an exception, Ernst. Instead, everyone has made it clear that such an exception would be a wicked horror.

    But I seriously dooubt that these cartoonists were killed for speaking out in favor of saying things others find offensive; instead they were killed for saying things that others find offense. Again, one does not need murder victim to be a saint or hero in order to nonetheless be a victim of a murderer.

  37. I seriously dooubt that these cartoonists were killed for speaking out in favor of saying things others find offensive; instead they were killed for saying things that others find offens[ive].

    You do realize that’s a distinction without a difference, don’t you?

    And if we’re not admitting of the possibility of a jerks needed killing exception in all of this that was wrong, killing, those jerks like that, but they were really jerky jerks weren’t they?* talk, then why all this complaining about the spittle on the sidewalk when the blood next to it hasn’t even dried yet?

    *That’s my admittedly crude gloss of the conversation, but I don’t believe it’s an unfair one.

  38. Ernst, are you being deliberately obtuse?
    Seriously, you don’t see the difference? Do you think that these terrorists are going to go after you, me, or Larry Tribe? Each of us is in favor of the right of people to say things that are offensive, you know.
    If you are going to insult the moral understandings of others (“Jesus wept”), you should first demonstrate your ability to reason about morality.
    And the reason for the complaining is because folks like you are suggesting that Donohue’s acknowledgement of the “jerky” nature of the victims somehow meant that he endorsed their murder, which is a scurrilous lie. Donohue is right. These victims were jerks, and their their murder was a mortal sin. At most Donohue is guilty of suggesting a false equivalence in suggesting that because neither jerky behavior nor murder should be tolerated they are equally morally problematic. I’m sure he did not mean that, but would could infer it if one were inclined to take conveniently self-righteous inferential liberties.

  39. Do you think that these terrorists are going to go after you, me, or Larry Tribe? Each of us is in favor of the right of people to say things that are offensive, you know.
    They will.
    We are Catholic.
    I am an uncovered woman.
    We are not paying the tax.
    They always have a reason.

  40. I have read it all and I am underwater with this thing.
    .
    Only TRUTH, WHO is Jesus Christ, has freedom of speech, press and peaceable assembly. (and peaceable assembly means to imitate Jesus Christ.) Everything else is perjury in a court of law and a lie in the public square. All men are created equal and can be required to give a good account of themselves in public. On the American Catholic I have often failed to give sources, and hope I am not going to be excised. In this matter, “put up or shut up” needs to be implemented. Does the masturbating nun have a name? Who is she and where is she? Every nun has a right to demand a good accounting. So, she could sue them in a court of law for bearing false witness, again, the Eighth Commandment. Does the cartoon look like the Pope or Mohammed, sue them in a court of law or shun them until they go bankrupt, as Mike Petric suggested.
    .
    The state has the power, the country has the authority from the people who constitute the government to declare this outrageous rag as “person non grata” and exile the dirty minded b–tards. Criminals of all strips can also be deterred by keeping them moving on, in the same way that the government causes protesters at abortion clinics to keep moving in a circle without stopping.
    .
    This magazine sucked the life out of freedom of speech and freedom in general. How does one take his children into the public square and not be offended by garbage. Don Wildmon shut down K-Mart pornography. God gives us free will and the will to live decently. It really would have been better if France had exiled that rag to Iraq.
    .
    As far as rape goes on public university campuses: First, the university is not legally equipped nor is it authorized to prosecute the crime of rape. Rape is the business of the state. The university suspending the rapist, leaving him no criminal record or other punishment, is a crime against the victim and society by starting a precedent that denies Justice to all people.
    .
    There was a case and I am ashamed to tell the name of the university, where the rapist was suspended for two months. The father of the girl demanded state prosecution. The court said that this would be double jeopardy as the rapist had already been suspended for two months. I am not above sandwich boards in front of the rapist’s house. The prosecutor failed to prosecute. Let the crime be on him/her.
    .
    And let the terrorist attack be on the government of France for not acting in ridding itself of this evil. So, yes, the murdered victims were victims of their own making and that of France for not acting in their behalf by getting rid of them as “persona non-grata”.

  41. I’ve never cared for Bill Donohue’s approach to combating anti-Catholicism (real or imagined) because it basically boils down to “we can play the PC protected victim class game too”. Whenever the Church is ridiculed, insulted, or criticized, his response 99 percent of the time is “They would never get away with doing this to Muslims, Jews, Blacks, gays, etc.”. Yes, he may be right about that, but is the solution to become just as insufferable and thin-skinned as they are?

    Also, let’s not get censorship confused with discretion. Censorship seeks to prevent offensive material from ever being created in the first place, or to eliminate it wherever it exists, and to punish those who create it. Exercising discretion in how or where one chooses to display or present offensive material (e.g., schools choosing what books to stock in their libraries, stores choosing not to sell Playboy, Cosmo, etc.) is NOT censorship, since the material remains available elsewhere.

  42. Do you think that these terrorists are going to go after you, me, or Larry Tribe? Each of us is in favor of the right of people to say things that are offensive, you know.
    They will.
    We are Catholic.
    I am an uncovered woman.
    We are not paying the tax.
    They always have a reason.

    What foxfier said.

    But go ahead and hope the crocodile will eat you last, if that’s what you want. Try not to splash around to much. You might call attention to yourself.

  43. Also, let’s not get censorship confused with discretion. Censorship seeks to prevent offensive material from ever being created in the first place, or to eliminate it wherever it exists, and to punish those who create it. Exercising discretion in how or where one chooses to display or present offensive material (e.g., schools choosing what books to stock in their libraries, stores choosing not to sell Playboy, Cosmo, etc.) is NOT censorship, since the material remains available elsewhere.

    When it becomes discrete to not display or present material that offends because the offended will kill you, is that not tantamount to censorship?

  44. Oh good. I was worried that I might be more obtuse than usual today.

    [“]The massacre at the Paris offices of the venerable satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been met with near-universal condemnation, but a growing chorus of self-appointed arbiters of good taste are going public, following up cursory denunciations of the murders with caveats that Charlie Hebdo is a “provocative,” “racist,” “Islamophobic,” “homophobic” publication who brought much of its trouble on itself.[“]
    .
    Without even reading the rest of the article, I’m betting most of these “arbiters of good taste” are the same people who think we should teach all men not to rape.

  45. This has been a very strange thread. Basically, some posters seem to be falling all over themselves to argue that no one should be inhibited from freely expressing his opinion, however odious it might be, for fear of criminal punishment or violence. The problem is that no one on this blog — and certainly not Donohue — advocates otherwise. I’m no fan of Donohue for the reasons expressed by Elaine, but Donohue is right in his description of the magazine. Bullies who publish mean-spirited and hurtful nonsense for the very purpose of offending should not be tolerated by members of polite society. Thinking people should shun and avoid association with such jerks, rather than lionize them as martyrs to the monument of free expression. Let’s be clear — the martyrs of free expression are those men and women in the armed forces who die for the purpose of protecting our rights, not those who exercise those rights in shameful ways. The victims of this violence are just that — victims, not heroes, not martyrs. They were not responsible for their own murders — their murderers were; but they were responsible for what they published and their deaths do not miraculously change that.

  46. The only God given right of freedom of speech is the right to say what is true. For the good of society, we must tolerate a certain amount of false or invective speech. The law regarding slander and libel is an attempt to strike a balance between tolerating certain false, questionable, and invective, statements or publications to be made and always allowing the truth to be stated or published.

  47. Regarding separation of Church and State in AU MILIEU DES SOLLICITUDES
    Pope Leo XIII stated as follows:
    “28. We shall not hold to the same language on another point, concerning the principle of the separation of the State and Church, which is equivalent to the separation of human legislation from Christian and divine legislation. We do not care to interrupt Ourselves here in order to demonstrate the absurdity of such a separation; each one will understand for himself. As soon as the State refuses to give to God what belongs to God, by a necessary consequence it refuses to give to citizens that to which, as men, they have a right; as, whether agreeable or not to accept, it cannot be denied that man’s rights spring from his duty toward God. Whence if follows that the State, by missing in this connection the principal object of its institution, finally becomes false to itself by denying that which is the reason of its own existence. These superior truths are so clearly proclaimed by the voice of even natural reason, that they force themselves upon all who are not blinded by the violence of passion; therefore Catholics cannot be too careful in defending themselves against such a separation. In fact, to wish that the State would separate itself from the Church would be to wish, by a logical sequence, that the Church be reduced to the liberty of living according to the law common to all citizens…. It is true that in certain countries this state of affairs exists. It is a condition which, if it have numerous and serious inconveniences, also offers some advantages – above all when, by a fortunate inconsistency, the legislator is inspired by Christian principles – and, though these advantages cannot justify the false principle of separation nor authorize its defence, they nevertheless render worthy of toleration a situation which, practically, might be worse.”

  48. The behavior of the victims has nothing to do with it… I think of the earnest young man, Foley, who was beheaded last fall; a week later another good man, Jewish, was beheaded, followed by a good person, an aid worker form England. who also had converted to Islam.
    As was stated above on this page, the jihadis will always have a reason, svn if the only apparent reason is a bloodlust.
    I am sorry for the people of “charlie”. We Catholics can do a better job of evangelizing these educated talented elites. Why do they hate us so much? Our war is at least on two fronts: the secular atheists who attack our religious rights, and the jihadis.

  49. Donohue’s a distraction. And an enervating one at that. So’s trying to assign the proper portion of blame to the massacred for the offense of offending the easily offended and aggrieving the perpetually aggrieved. This is about opposing the heckler’s veto. This is about recognizing that Islamists are at war with the West for reasons of their own rather than because of anything anyone in the West has done to them.
    .
    “Why do they hate us so much?” Anzlyne asked. Because they hate.

  50. I’m going to riff off another comment on the Reason roundup of equivocating responses to yesterday’s terror attack. I linked earlier, and then I’ll let it go (much to everyone’s relief, no doubt).

    Charlie Hebdo was racist, misogynistic, crude and vulgar. One should be able to say that because it is true.
    .
    Just because someone is slaughtered by Islamists doesn’t magically turn them into saints.

    It seems to me that the commenter’s point is irrelevant because it misses the main point. The Charlie Hebdo victims were slaughtered not because Charlie Hebdo was racist, misogynistic, crude and vulgar, but because Islam was not exempted from their crudity and vulgarity. But even that is only part of the amin point. The Islamists who carried out this massacre acted upon a pretext. If it hadn’t been Charlie Hebdo, it would have been something else.
    .
    All this rationalization and contextualizing, all this explaining away is just appeasement by another name.
    .
    I wish I could remember what Orwell said back in 1940 or 41 about British pacifists being objectively on the side of the Nazis; it applies here.

  51. I just thought of one more thing, so I guess I lied when I said I’d let it go. Maybe I’ll mean it this time.
    .
    You want to know what the most offensive thing ever spoken was?
    .
    “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” (John 8:58)
    .
    The runner up is “Today, this scripture passage* is fulfilled in your hearing*.” (Luke 4:21)
    .
    (*The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has annointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recover of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. ( Luke 4:18-19; cf. Is 61:1-2, 58:6))
    .
    Maybe I can get some sleep now that I’ve got that out of my system.

  52. Vincent A Lewis wrote, “The only God given right of freedom of speech is the right to say what is true.”

    Really? What about

    Giving orders –
    Forming and testing a hypothesis—
    Presenting the results of an experiment in tables and diagrams—
    Making up a story; and reading it—
    Play-acting—
    Singing catches—
    Guessing riddles—
    Making a joke; telling it—
    Solving a problem in practical arithmetic—
    Translating from one language into another—
    Asking, thanking, cursing, greeting, praying –

    There is much more to speech than “saying what is true.”

  53. Mike-
    Possibly it is “strange” to you because you insist on acting like the guys who refused to give in to the actual bullies– “do what we say, or else”– were the bullies.
    The “offensive” stuff did not come out of the blue.
    You’re pulling the same thing that schools do when they expel the guy who raised a hand in self defense, because fighting is wrong, and completely ignore that he was punched several times before even doing that.

  54. Foxfier, I think you have a misimpression of either my position or the nature Charlie Hebdo. I do not think that the Catholic Church provoked the magazine’s lurid and gratuitous depictions of masturbating nuns and perverted priests, etc. The magazine is not some heroic defender of either the West or free speech. It is a scurrilous rag with mean-spirited content that intends to offend, rather than persuade or enlighten. That is not to say that such behavior is a warrant for murder — of course not; and that is not to say that murderers are not worthy of condemnation and punishment — of course they are. But Charlie Hebdo was and is in fact a mean-spirited rag that caters to both the ignorance of the masses as well as the conceits of the elite. The victims who were responsible for such content deserve our prayers, of course, but not our admiration.

  55. End note: Many of my more orthodox Jewish friends take seriously the idea that one should never mention God by name, to the point that even in writing they will type G-d. Accordingly, when in their presence or in a written exchange I often employ the same convention, simply out of respect, even though I’m confident that if I didn’t they would take no offense (unlike the jihadists who view behaviors incompatible with their own conventions to be a warrant for violence). Attitudinally, Charlie Hebdo would respond to my Jewish friends by gratuitously speaking and writing God, Yaweh, etc as much as possible for the very purpose and with the precise hope of committing offense.

  56. Mike-
    not only does your argument not support your assertion, it engages in a lot of mind-reading or assumption of motivation.
    Given people who are openly saying they kill people because they disagree with them, and people who are making points you don’t like in very rude ways, you decide to make statements about how horrible the motives of the one that won’t kill you are.
    I’m done.

  57. Foxfier,
    I think you are mistaking publishing meanspirited distortions about convenient targets for speaking truth to power. I’m anxious to read your justification for the masturbating nun. And your implication that somehow I am excusing the murdering jihadists or trivializing the wickedness of their murder is horribly untrue and unfair. As a good Catholic I oppose the death penalty except in the most extraordinary circumstances. Executions are sins and the executed are victims. Elevating victims into martyrs may allow for a more compelling narrative, but it is intellectually dishonest.

  58. Mike, why on earth would I keep trying to talk to you about this when you have thus far either not understood or cannot respond to a single point I have made?

  59. Mike Petric: “Executions are sins and the executed are victims.”
    .
    “Only for killing a man shall a man be put to death.”
    .
    Capital punishment is the temporal punishment for capital one homicide; for laying in wait and murdering an innocent man for jealousy, or hatred or lust for his wife and/or property. There can be no Sacrament of Penance without temporal punishment and the firm amendment to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin. The executed are brought to Justice on the gallows. As the prophet Samuel hacked Agag into pieces saying: “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless.”
    .
    Without the death penalty, the Boston bomber is going enjoy his crime in prison for the rest of his life. For the murderer to enjoy his crime in prison for the rest of his life is injustice. It is the duty of the state to deliver Justice.
    .
    World War II was capital punishment on a large scale. Those Germans killed were supposed to be resisting Hitler and freeing the concentration camp victims, not shooting as they were, at the Allies. There was an underground resistance in France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Carl von Stauffenberg tried to assassinate HItler, people who could think for themselves. ditto “the japs” as they were called.
    .
    War is hell but so is taking on the power of attorney of the condemned and bringing him to Justice.
    .
    Justice is what this post is about. Violation of the sovereign person is a miscarriage of Justice. “piss Christ”, the image of Our Lady covered in elephant dung, the life-sized statue of Jesus Christ in chocolate and the invitation to passersby to “take and eat”. These are mockery not only of my belief but essentially ridicule of the Divine Person and the human person. “You are men sacred to me, for I, the Lord, your God am sacred”. and our tax money paying for the cruel blasphemy and insult to the human person and God. William Donohue responds to the defamation of innocent persons. Real humor subsists in our acknowledgement of our shortcomings. It seems these people were killed for violating free speech.
    .
    There is so much in the Bible to cause “funny”, such as the phrase: “there will not be a dog that pisseth against a wall.” Whenever I see a dog pissething against a wall, I am reminded that things aren’t so bad (and things can get worse).
    .
    The public square and the public tax money belongs to all people and are not to be misused to abuse. When their magazine entered the public square and offended and violated common decency and the person, it had brought about sanction on itself, and it needed to be removed by them or everyone. The terrorists do not represent “everyone”.

  60. I agree, Mary, with much of what you have written. As a Catholic I am bound to the Church’s teachings, and Her teaching regarding capital punishment is pretty clear — it should be used only when necessary to protect society. While that rule very much requires a prudential application in each case, in my opinion it would not permit capital punishment for most instances of capital crimes. Current law in the US does not apply such a prudential calculus, but instead the inquiry is chiefly penal in nature. To the extent executions occur that do not satisfy the prudential test taught by the Church they would be objectively sinful. For the record, this is not a teaching that I am especially enthusiastic about. While I think I understand its reasoning, it seems wrong-headed to me for reasons your post suggests. That said, I submit to authoritative Church teaching.
    My penultimate point was simply that in those instances where a convict is executed under circumstances that would not permit such exectution under Church teaching, the convict has been wronged, and he is a victim; but that does not render him a martyr.

  61. Elaine Krewer wrote:

    ‘I’ve never cared for Bill Donohue’s approach to combating anti-Catholicism (real or imagined) because it basically boils down to “we can play the PC protected victim class game too”.’

    Indeed. It demeans us and alas, has become all too common in my neck of the woods…

  62. Ernst Schreiber wrote:

    “All this rationalization and contextualizing, all this explaining away is just appeasement by another name. . I wish I could remember what Orwell said back in 1940 or 41 about British pacifists being objectively on the side of the Nazis; it applies here.”

    Amen.

  63. Mike PetriK wrote:

    “…but Donohue is right in his description of the magazine.”

    Of course he is. But there is a time and a place Maister P. To so indulge himself now, RIGHT now when twelve people have just been murdered, and their friends and families are in shock and mourning is a species of moral masturbation to make the sins of “Charlie Hebdo” pale by comparison! It is at best ill-bred and callous, and at worst a sleekit way of saying that those poor souls somehow got what was coming to them! Christ on the Cross that poor, tortured wee Muslim lassie I quoted above shows more understanding and compassion than Donohue! He might as well have gone the whole hog, got on a plane to Paris and p****d on their corpses!

    Mike Petrik continued:

    “Thinking people…”

    God gie me strength!

    “..should shun and avoid association with such jerks…”

    Are you familiar with Matthew 9:9-13?

    “…rather than lionize them as martyrs to the monument of free expression.”

    The thing is Maister P, in their choice to continue publishing after previous threats and violent attacks that is precisely what they are. Not all martyrs, to whatever cause or faith, lead blameless lives prior to martyrdom.

  64. Mike Petric: “— it should be used only when necessary to protect society.” Who defines what is necessary to protect society? My problem is: who defines society? Are the other prisoners not “society”, the warden, the doctors, the contractors? My stand is simply that a truly repentant capital one murderer will expire with grief over his crime. Now, you are telling me that God wishes to keep him alive, as though God must trust him, but that is not in the CCC.
    .
    Actually, I am for dropping every capital one murderer into the Amazon Jungle and if God wants him/her to live, that’s OK with me. I was also considering Devil’s Island. Let them work as hard as we have to.
    .
    Did you see where St. John Paul II’s assassin came to place flowers on St. John’s grave. After the flowers were placed he was immediately deported by Italy.

  65. Mike: There is another concept weighing heavily on me. If the murderer murders again, the state becomes an enabler, an accessory before the fact for not ending the murderer’s crime spree. If St. John Paul II’s assassin murdered again, St. John would have been an accomplice. Are we, the people, to be sitting ducks while the state becomes an accomplice?

  66. It is surely ludicrous for Bill Donohue to accuse Charlie Hebdo of intolerance, of all things (“But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.”)
    Charlie Hebdo has never advocated restricting anyone’s freedom of speech – They leave that to the fanatics they ridicule.
    http://tinyurl.com/n8svgq2
    (The hobnail boots are a nice touch)

  67. I keep thinking. Dr. Donohue’s response is basically “I told you so.” and then Dr. Donohue goes on to explain his “I told you so” so when anyone gets to heaven he cannot claim that he was not informed. What happened was hideously unfair, but Dr. Donohue warned the victims of the consequences to be faced for their freedom of speech. Will somebody please blame the devil.

  68. Mike Petric: “in my opinion it would not permit capital punishment for most instances of capital crimes.”
    .
    You are absolutely right, but I am talking only about, exclusively about, capital one homicide, not homicide two, negligence, accidental death, only about a hate filled individual who plots, plans and executes his neighbor, even a cold-blooded hit-man does not bear the hatred required for capital one murder. I think the cold-blooded hit-man needs capital punishment because his conscience is gone. But, as you say, these cases must be tried on their own facts, each individually. A blanket ban on capital punishment removes self-defense and is double jeopardy for every citizen for the ban gives the capital one murderer license to kill.

  69. Michael Paterson-Seymour: The Jews, Catholics and the Muslims were all three indeed slandered by the magazine. To portray the three as equally guilty in the murders is no more just than what the magazine was doing, slandering innocent people because they belonged to that group, guilt by association. A Bill of Attainder is prohibited. It is unconstitutional to punishing family and friends of traitors.

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