A papal conundrum

Uh-oh. The Pope has just grossly insulted my beliefs.

I believe you have a right to criticize anything — I go further and think you have an obligation to criticize.

I also believe that violence is never the answer, and that the proper response to words is more words, not flinging punches.

But look at what this pope is saying, violating what I hold dear.

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Conservative values: opportunism and cowardice

At least someone has found a silver lining to the Charlie Hebdo murders: conservatives have used it to leverage censorship of a photo they don’t like.

After leaving the highly offensive photo titled “Piss Christ” posted for 26 years — despite decades of public Christian outcry over the image panned as art — The Associated Press finally removed the controversial and denigrating image, but only after a journalist called out its double standard brought to light when it touted its policy of not publishing potentially offensive Charlie Hebdo satirical cartoons of Muhammad, such as the ones that incited the deadly Paris attack.

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Making excuses for violence, while demonizing those who question violence

Tauriq Moosa responds to a deplorable opinion piece by Anjem Choudary that accuses satirists of provoking violence.

Because free expression matters more than any one group’s feeling of offence. Because I imagine most Muslims are adults capable of handling criticism of their beliefs – even if they feel offended. Choudary is painting the picture right wingers want: an entire group of people, perched on the spring of outrage, ready to march with billboards at the slightest case of “offence”.

Muslims must speak out against this caricature and be on the frontlines defending free speech, even and especially if it offends them. And media spaces must improve and find better spokespeople.

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Automatic rifles & rocket launchers vs. cartoons: no contest

In a disgraceful act of cowardice and hatred, fanatics murdered at least 12 members of the staff of the French satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo. I don’t hesitate to call this cowardice; the gunmen faced no real threat, killed people, and then ran away. They seemed to think this was a triumph of some sort.

In the video, the gunmen can be heard shouting “Allahu akbar” between bursts of gunfire. The gunmen also shouted “we have avenged the prophet,” according to police.

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I’m not seeing a difference between Hinduism and Christianity here

It’s not just the Christians who have a persecution complex, but also other religions? Say it ain’t so! But read this remarkable whine about poor, picked-upon Hinduism — did you know that only Hindu beliefs get mocked?

…why is it that only Hindu practices and traditions are targeted for censure and ridicule? How is what Smriti Irani did more superstitious or unscientific than a Muslim kneeling to pray to a black stone in Mecca or a Catholic imbibing bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ?

Here, I’ll make Ms. Aditi Banerjee feel a little better: all of those practices are absurd, superstitious, ritualistic baloney.

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A local poll, created by me

You can’t imagine how much I hate the loud, cheesy, obnoxiously sectarian chimes that ring in the cemetary near my house — they’re so loud that we have to close up all the windows in my house all summer long, unless we really want to listen to hymns every 15 minutes. They were briefly shut off for a while last year when someone cut the cables — really, I’m not the only one who hates them — and that ass, Ted Storck, who had them installed and lives nowhere near them had them repaired, and then wrote to accuse me of having done it.

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