AHA News |  

What the Libyan Embassy Attack Teaches Us About True Religious Freedom

Posted: 09/13/2012 2:00 pm

The news swept the globe this week of the senseless killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three of his staff members by an angry mob upset with a movie made in America. While we are immensely saddened by this unnecessary loss of life, some recent statements made by government officials apologizing for the movie and condemning those that made it are concerning.

Certainly, people, religious or not, should be treated with respect, but that doesn't mean that religious ideas are immune to criticism or parody. And no matter how strong one's principles of religious freedom are, there is no excuse for violent actions taken by individuals on the grounds of defending their faith from outside criticism.

True religious freedom requires that people are able to believe as they so choose, but it also demands the ability to be free from belief and to question beliefs as one sees fit. Ideally, criticism should be constructive and remain polite and reasoned, but even if the remarks made are vulgar and offensive, the same legal protections regarding free speech and religious freedom must be maintained. 

To read the rest of this Huffington Post article by AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt, click here.