Guest post by Saba Farbodkia. Originally a post at British Muslims for Secular Democracy on Facebook, published here by permission.
Dear offended religious people,
Please stop the hypocrisy. The right to offend is not exclusively yours.
If you know the holy scriptures of the religions that you uphold so dearly, you already know how offensive parts of them are to people.
Yet, some of you still continue to publish them. Some of you buy those publications and read them. Some of you recite them to your children. Some of you force your children to uphold them as sacred and act upon them as far as they can. And all of you regard those scriptures beyond questioning and criticism, otherwise why would you feel offended when one did so?
If you know the holy figures of the religions that you uphold so dearly, you probably know of a few things they have done that are offensive to people.
Yet, some of you consider them as the paragons of how one should live their earthly life, and all of you regard desecration of those figures an offense to the sacredness of your religion.
Your religions have not only deeply offended women, homosexuals, and non-believers, but have also been a source of physical pain and agony for them by the actions of those followers who have been literally following their instructions, throughout centuries and millennia.
And yet, the right of these people to offend you back by questioning, criticizing, and mocking the religious concepts that you uphold so dearly has been breached for most of the history, only granted to them for a couple of decades or centuries in some parts of the world, now, and not granted to them in so many other parts, yet.
Despite such historical privilege, you still whine when somebody starts to use their right to mock your religion or desecrate its figures. Worse than that, when a tragedy happens because some of your fellow offended religious people have gone nuts and killed a group of blasphemers, some of you distort a conversation that should be about the right to blasphemy, to a conversation about your offended feelings at the blasphemy that the blasphemers were killed for. KILLED FOR…
Take a moment and think about it.
If a group of atheist homosexual women, deeply agonized and in pain bullied by expression of your religious beliefs for decades, had gone nuts and had exploded a few mosques and churches and other religious centers for “incitement of hatred and prejudice” against them, and had killed a dozen of hate preaching Imams, how would feel if all the world would turn to you when you were moaning your loss, by changing the conversation to be about how offended their feelings would get the sermons were given at those centers? How would you feel if those religious centers were not even actually preaching such hate?
Do you see how hypocritical it is?
So this is what I am gonna do: Next time you mention something about empathy, and how it requires that people don’t offend each other, I ask you for empathy first. I ask you to stop offending people by giving up your support for religions that have such offensive concepts in their scriptures, or the actions of their holy figures as recorded by history. I ask you to show your empathy for your fellow human beings by leaving your religion. Until you haven’t shown enough empathy not to offend others, please don’t ask others to show that to you.
Please stop the hypocrisy. The right to offend is not exclusively yours. The empathy not to be offensive is not exclusively other people’s responsibility, either.
This is only intended for those religious people who feel offended at blasphemy, and took the CH events to express their feelings.
I understand there are many religious people like myself, who can take a witty joke about their religion with a smile, and face a serious criticism of it by a deep thought.
Raging Bee says
I am totally stealing the first two lines! They sum the whole matter up nicely, and they almost fit on a T-shirt. (I wonder how they’d look translated into Arabic script — maybe you could get a really cool-looking graphic like the Al Jazeera logo…)
Omar Puhleez says
Yes RB. Me too. It makes me want to set up a T-shirt factory.