Where has freedom of the press, and freedom of speech gone?
Must we concern ourselves with offending every element of society – friendly or adverse – with the words we choose to express ourselves? to express our views? Whether political or religious views; whether mundane topics such as fashion or dining; are we supposed to produce euphemistic journalism so as to avoid ruffling the feathers of another person’s beliefs or opinions?
That’s not my plan.
I’m not affiliated with any religion but I was raised as a Roman Catholic Christian and followed that religion – and a couple other Christian religions – well into my adult years so I know what it feels like to be attached to a belief system that honors its god, and its church leaders. If a satirical cartoon of Pope Francis, Mother Teresa, or the Reverend Billy Graham appeared on the front page of my Seattle Times newspaper that rivals the boldness of those that appeared in Charlie Hedbo, I might have an opinion that it was in bad taste, but I wouldn’t storm the gates of the newspaper office and demand retribution.
And if I’m offended by something that appears in media, I have the right to a) not read any further articles printed by said media; and b) if I’m a subscriber, I can choose to cancel my subscription. I never have to read offensive journalism if I choose not to.
I dare say that differing opinions exist even within common belief groups because these groups are comprised of individuals who aren’t – or shouldn’t be – afraid to have their own viewpoint on matters of importance in their life.
Is world-wide censorship the answer?
Must we all have identical thought processes in order to guarantee peace?
I have a confession to make. When I drafted this article I titled it exactly as I’ve done but thinking better of it, I replaced damn with darn. Then I realized that if I replaced that word, I would be censoring myself for fear someone would be turned off by a very mundane – and mostly tolerated – swear word. I chose to follow John Lydgate’s directive: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
I’m okay with that.
The day censorship is the rule, rather than the exception, is the day all of us lose the freedom over which many battles have been fought, and many lives lost. Freedom is precious; just ask those who aren’t at all familiar with the concept.