In a post for Big Think, I argued why religious organisations demanding respect miss what that actually looks like.
The case involves a local artist satirising a recent, unrelated news story about sport (called cricket or something). The artist, the legendary Zapiro, chose to depict the god Ganesh due to his popularity in the related country of India. Hindu organisations here in SA are upset and are demanding apologies, respect, etc. etc.My point is that respect can’t be – or shouldn’t be – something that is demanded: like love, it should be earned. Second, we show respect by treating ideas with “equal” measure of satire, mockery and so on, because we assume those who hold such beliefs are “adult” enough to handle such responses (whether those responses are warranted or themselves adult is another question, of course).
Yet, again and again, many (not all) religious organisations offer evidence they can‘t respond maturely. This does a disservice both to progressive debates and to those on whose behalf they claim to speak.
(It was also fun recently to continuously tell people on Twitter that I’m not Muslim when asked, as I usually am, whether I’d take such a stance on Islam – you know, “my” religion. At least it’s a good lesson to not assume “Arabic name equals Muslim belief”. I don’t get upset anymore, since I’ve noticed kind corrections go far.)