Saturday, 21 February 2015

Criticize, but also respect religion

Another letter in the South China Morning Post takes me to task. I'll get around to commenting on both in due course...
I refer to Peter Forsythe's letter ("We should not give in to the 'but brigade'", February 10), which claimed that emphasising moral equivalence will deteriorate freedom of speech and give in to the violence.I do not believe that there is a deterioration of freedom of speech if religions are respected.First and foremost, freedom of speech should not be abused. It should not be used as an excuse to blindly criticise, ridicule or attack religions, or anything else.Its value is to uphold the right of criticism which is supported by justified evidence.For instance, we have the right to strongly criticise Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, condemn atrocities committed by terrorists, or vent our anger towards ever-worsening social problems, because such comments are reasonable.However, I cannot see any justification for ridiculing a religion just because you wish to make fun of it. This is similar to someone acting like a bully.That kind of cruel satire can disrupt harmony and cause polarisation in a society.Freedom of speech should be used to build a fairer society in which everyone can express their opinions in a rational way and all citizens can respect each other.Jonathan Kung Chi-yip, Tuen Mun

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