Freedom to Offend

Freedom to offend religions and religious beliefs are a right essential to democracy. Free speech means freedom to offend.

Religions (There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide) are social-cultural systems of designated behaviours and practices no different from political parties, international companies, etc. Why then should they be treated differently and demand the right not to be offended?

In a free society only individual human beings have the right not to be offended whereas corporate entities, i.e., religions (including their designated gods, goddess, etc.) have every right to be ridiculed and criticised if deemed fit. This is an integral part of the western liberal tradition.

Forced by fear and intimidation not to do so is an assault on free speech. Those offended have every right to protest, but not to resort to violence and murder. The right to free speech is diminished without the right to offend

In the West we are where we are today because we were not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left to combat it.

Now the west is facing a new assault on the right of free speech This is a recent phenomenon which has come about for fear of offending its adherents. New vocabulary e.g., Islamophobia are invented to control free speech. The facts that this assault is not a product of native belief but of newcomers to these shores makes no difference. In the words of Douglas Murray (if you can’t lampoon bad ideas, bad ideas get a free pass. Bad ideas have the opportunity to win “

Right to offend is an inalienable part of right to religious freedom and free speech – Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar

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