In response to Ms. Knight-Khan’s recent letter encouraging censorship of speech critical of religion, we must be unequivocal in our response. If the United States and the rest of the civilized free world is to remain free and civilized, then our answer has to always resolutely be no; we will not allow our expressed thoughts to be policed. No organization is beyond criticism. No idea is beyond critique. Speech is simply audible thought and the instant we create protected legal shelters for certain thoughts, we agree to place someone else in control of those thoughts. Who do we nominate for the role of thought police? Who determines what speech needs squashing? There is no one outside of my own mind that I trust with that responsibility.
In addition, no one has an inherent right not to be offended. No idea expressed in any cartoon, book, paper, speech, film, painting, etc., can be outlawed in the name of protecting someone’s feelings, and certainly never under any circumstances do expressed ideas warrant a violent response, a threat of real harm, or a criminal conviction, even if that idea offends a religious belief (the victimless thought crime with a long and murderous history known as blasphemy).
People have rights. Ideas don’t, and for ideas to hold up, they must be subject to criticism. If they stand against criticism and yes, even ridicule, then those ideas are better for it. If they don’t, then defend those ideas with updated ones or face the truth of their terminal deficiency.