In a quite astonishing response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, the Pope not only defended those who use violence to deny others the right to criticise religion but reversed centuries of Christian official teaching, and said that people who insult religion should expect to be punched, just as someone should expect to be punched for insulting someone's mother.
In all matters of morality and theology the Pope is considered by Catholics to be infallible and to speak the words of God to humanity, so we can assume that, according to Catholic dogma, God has changed his mind and now thinks Jesus was wrong when he said:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
But maybe this universal objective morality all depends on the situation. Maybe a special lower form of morality is okay when religion is being lampooned and religious bigotry is being made fun of when people should be dutifully cowering in fear and not questioning what the clerics say. If they get away with lampooning Islam, they'll try it on Christianity and then where will things like papal authority and clerical privilege be?
Previously, Christians had been able to hold up this 'turn the other cheek' principle and present it as a new, superior morality that Jesus had been sent to Earth to teach us, and so claim moral superiority over religions like Islam and Judaism which still taught the 'old morality' of eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and do unto others what they've done unto you. But no longer. Now that religions themselves have lost so much undeserved respect, this namby-pamby wet liberalism can be put aside and Christians should start punching too. That'll teach the Atheists to have a little respect!
But actually, of course, the Pope's pronouncement is much closer to what Jesus also told his followers in a little-known verse from the Bible that you'll never hear in Bible class and that thankfully most Christians don't seem to have read, although it has been rolled out on occasion to justify the odd faith-based genocide:
For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
This freedom of speech thing is all very well, but not when it comes to the freedom of others to laugh at Christianity. If there is one thing clerics hate more than other religions, it's no religion at all.
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