Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ free speech

The new Jesus and Mo strip, called “sing”, came with the note, “It’s been a while since we did an X-factor strip.” It forms an argument for freedom of speech, and remember that Christians and especially Muslims consider criticism of their faith to be “hate speech”. For those who call for punching Nazis, should Muslims and Christians be able to call for punching Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris?

8 Comments

  1. fernando
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Hey, “hate speech” is the opposite of “divine hate speech”. The latter is also called “love” and “mercy”.

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Freedom of speech is protection from the government not incitement to the people. Calling for violence against anyone is incitement to violence – not protected.

  3. Posted August 24, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The New York Times ran an op-ed not long ago that contrasted German and US approaches to Nazi speech:

    “In Germany, the very presence of neo-Nazis openly marching through a city bearing swastika-emblazoned flags, as in Charlottesville, is unthinkable. Unlike the United States, Germany places strict limits on speech and expression when it comes to right-wing extremism. It is illegal to produce, distribute or display symbols of the Nazi era — swastikas, the Hitler salute, along with many symbols that neo-Nazis have developed as proxies to get around the initial law. Holocaust denial is also illegal.

    “The law goes further. There is the legal concept of ‘Volksverhetzung,’ the incitement to hatred: Anybody who denigrates an individual or a group based on their ethnicity or religion, or anybody who tries to rouse hatred or promotes violence against such a group or an individual, could face a sentence of up to five years in prison.”

    I’m wondering if these laws have ever been used to shut down criticism of radical Islam?

    In any case, the piece ends like this:

    “In recent days, people in my Twitter feed have passed around a passage from the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper’s 1945 book, ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies,’ that in essence says that tolerance toward the intolerant cannot be infinite, or the tolerant risk eradication. That’s Germany’s militant democracy in a nutshell. And there may come a day when the United States must embrace it as well. But for now, I have faith in a democratic public’s ability to police itself. I wish Germany did.”

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 24, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes, a very apt article–glad you posted it.

  4. Posted August 24, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Alright! Can we sing along?

  5. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Sadly, J&M is wrong here. Hate speech laws such as in Sweden do not protect against “hurtful, violent” speech. It protects against making public threats and displays of bigotry outside of rational analysis [https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hets_mot_folkgrupp]. (So that last part would not work.)

    In fact, it is – as usual – not the decision of those who notify police what is considered threat and bigotry, it is up to the courts. I can understand the sentiment in part though, because we have little evidence either way. Maybe those laws are unnecessary. (Or maybe US is so violent simply because of the Gini gap, et cetera.)

    But as long as they are compatible with the UN Declaration of Human Rights, I do not understand the part of the repeated refrain. The repetition makes it sound like the many democratic nations that have instated hate speech laws makes something wrong. But I do not see the effort to get UN to change the UNDHR.

    • Thanny
      Posted August 24, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      The phenomenon called “hate speech” is categorically different from incitement to violence. The latter is illegal in the US. The former, which at worst can be described as bigotry, is protected speech.

      So if you’re accurately depicting the laws in Sweden, what you have are laws against incitement and laws against bigotry. Only the latter can reasonably be described as “hate speech”.

      Either way you look at it, such laws (or a law, if it’s the same one applying to both) is in direct contradiction of free speech. If you have that law, you do not have free speech.


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