Why is freedom of speech unethical

Freedom and religion

To begin with, I am an agnostic. That is, I am of the opinion that it is impossible for man to recognize, to know whether a transcendent being (God) exists or not. Although I do not deny the possibility of the existence of such beings or principles. You just can't know it, let alone prove it.

Accordingly, religion is logically not a matter of knowledge and science, but of belief and therefore actually only a private matter. Because what I believe is in itself personal (tied to my person) and self-centered, and should therefore not be relevant beyond my sphere of thought and therefore fundamentally irrelevant to other people.

Some believe one should not show caricatures of a prophet, as this is blasphemy and therefore prohibited. However, this raises an enormously important question: If one cannot even know whether this God exists at all, how can blasphemy be something absolute to which everything is supposed to subordinate? People who like this believe, are a problem for our western societies, especially since we have a constitutionally protected right to freedom of expression and speech.

On the other hand, I believe that it is highly immoral and unethical to kill someone for a drawing, regardless of what is on it.

Nowadays, however, we also live in the West (i.e. in our house) in a world where exactly that, i.e. the perception, the exercise of this right to freedom of expression, amounts to a death sentence, because some religious fanatics believethat they have the right, or even the duty, to punish an act of expression with death.

To behead with a kitchen knife! As in the example of the French teacher Samuel Paty, who showed the well-known caricatures in his class in order to use them to discuss the topic of freedom of expression and to teach his students the basics of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Do we still have to discuss the disproportionate nature of such a barbaric act?

In that case, however, it was sufficient to initiate a discussion, that is, to look at a situation from different perspectives, a religiously deluded person as the trigger and justification of a bloodthirsty murder. An attack on freedom of expression!

An act equivalent to an execution in which the perpetrator referred to the guidelines of his religion. A fact that unfortunately met with too much approval from certain circles on the Internet! Shouldn't that make us think?

I am a teacher myself and promoting and stimulating independent, critical thinking is still the highest and most valuable teaching assignment.

What it leads to when people give up independent thinking and quasi no longer critically question what a religious or political leader dictates to them, we have seen, historically speaking, enough in the history of mankind and just now again where 70 Millions of people wanted to elect a notorious liar to be president. (Fortunately, there were 4 million more who just didn't want that.)

Should I ban everything that is critical of religion from my classes in the future, because in the worst case I have to fear for my life? Should I even sign this letter to the editor with my real name?

What also bothers me immensely is still some in the West believe, One should not do things differently critical of religion, because it offends the religious feelings of the believers.

To them I answer: “Do you know what will hurt my humanistic feelings and my deepest, ethical and moral feelings in 2020, two to three hundred years after the Enlightenment?

That I as a person and we as a society now have to grapple with such a backward, fascistic ideology that despises human and women's rights. And this in particular because we had already overcome these tendencies in Christianity. "

Because of my emotional hurt, I don't run around now and start killing those who think differently and those of different faiths! That's a damn important difference because I've learned that my hurt isn't the measure of all things and that I have to endure it.

Out of hurt feelings - even if they are of a religious nature - not to murder, that is what one can ask of everyone!

But if we criticize the publication of drawings critical of religion as a cause or trigger, as some circles do in our country, then we relativize the terribly disproportionate acts and thus ultimately legitimize religious injuries as an acceptable reason for assassinations and murders.

In my value system, however, there is no legitimation of any kind for these forms of violence.

And to the others, the latently cowardly appeasers and belittlers, who still want to dismiss all of this with Islamophobia - especially from left-green circles, from which I also come - I say: “We have to take a stand! Appaesementpolitik has never worked and it will not lead to anything in relation to Islamism either! "

A time seems to have come when we will have to stand up again for our liberal society, which is threatened by religious fascism. The low threshold of indignation of religious fanatics must not determine what we are allowed to express and how we have to live!

On the other hand, however, I also have to admit that I do not know exactly what this standing up should look like in concrete terms and what we as a society must do to maintain our freedom. But in the face of the Islamist attacks of the past few days, we need to wake up and start thinking harder about how to deal with the danger.

Freedom of expression is far too important to be sacrificed on the altar of religious hypersensitivity!

Richard Stephany

N.B. If you have not yet understood what it is about and how far it can all go, I refer you to articles on this topic on the well-known websites of reputable newspapers in Germany and France.

Freedom and Religion, the 2nd (November 16, 2020)

Since the comment function was already closed on RTL, I would like to reply one last time to the user “Anon Nym”, who is a Muslim according to his comments.

First of all, I would like to thank him that, as a “peace-loving Luxembourger”, he acknowledges the Basic Law and “lives according to it”! I also have to agree with him that the vast majority of Luxembourg's Muslims are very well integrated and that, fortunately, Luxembourg has been spared from (Islamist) terrorist acts up to now and hopefully in the future as well. I am grateful for that too.

However, on one point - and this is the main reason for this second reader's letter - I do not want to leave some of his statements unchallenged. It is about the sentence: “Anyway, why is it necessary to insult the Prophet Mohammed?” I and certainly also the caricaturists had and do not need to insult the Prophet and nobody claims the right to insult other worldviews allowed to.

Mr. “Anon Nym”, you have got something fundamentally wrong if you believe this. That's not the point at all! It's about being able to question any idea or theory critically and without taboos. And a caricature is by definition a comically exaggerated representation of people or social conditions, but as such is not an insult in itself.

I am also not interested in criticizing Islamic spirituality as such. I am concerned with the interpretation of Islam, which is determined by patriarchal-authoritarian views and therefore, instead of critical questioning, above all demands and promotes blind faith in letters. Memorize texts without discussing them, without interpreting them in the spirit of the times.

Ahmad Mansour, psychologist and book author, wonderfully expressed what it is about on November 4th, 2020 in an article in the FAZ. Here what he writes:

“And that's what this argument is about: The caricatures can be found tasteless, poorly drawn, even simply silly, but the fact that people are allowed to draw and write and say what they want is the hard-won result of long struggles for human rights and freedom of expression as normative Base of society. In secular societies, religious feelings are a private matter, different worldviews have to be endured and accepted. Basic democratic values, including the right to self-development, give action its framework, in education, in living together, in the education system, in politics. In the desire not to offend or anger particularly sensitive groups, people think aloud about restricting aspects of freedom of expression. In the short term this may bring pacification to our coexistence, but in the long term the question of what integration means if the list of Islamist demands is getting longer and longer remains open. In the end, it would damage democracy and betray what Europe is all about. It is clear that political Islam and jihadism are trying to change the rules of the game in Europe. But there will be no isolation. People from pre-democratic structures and traditions will continue to seek their fortune in the European Union. And groups, both inside and outside, will continue to try to assert themselves against democracy. But anyone who wants to enjoy Europe's freedom, prosperity and progress without being prepared for the path of enlightenment is sabotaging the very guarantee of freedom that he is looking for. All of this is only available as a complete package. "

And finally, one last comment: If you (User Anon Nym) accuse Macron of verbally attacking a journalist in Beirut who had confronted him with “unpleasant things” like a “complaining child”, then I would like to point out that this, how they write themselves, it happened verbally, and that the good journalist still carries his head and still lives in freedom. In other places in the world, such as Erdowahns Turkey, the Islamic Republic of Iran or other dictatorships in the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East, he would now be behind bars for libel of majesty.

This is exactly the difference that I want to point out to you. To be able to express unpleasant things to rulers and religion without having to fear for one's life or one's freedom.


Richard Stephany