Thursday, September 19, 2002

religious tolerance vs. religious liberty

A novelist is on trial in France for telling a reporter, "The dumbest religion, after all, is Islam." Michel Houellebecq faces a potential sentence of up to a year in prison. The first article I linked to in this post examines this situation while distinquishing between religious tolerance, and religious liberty. Another article frames it a battle between human rights supporters and those who believe in free speech.

Certainly, we should be tolerant of others. But, we should also have the freedom to talk about religion, to "preach, to criticize and to seek to influence or convert." Freedom of religious expression may result in someone making a statement like Houellebecq's above. I don't agree with his opinion. But, I firmly don't believe that he should be imprisoned for making the statement.

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