The right to offend

Kenneth H. Bonbnell

Many people don't believe it, but humans do have a right to offend other humans, especially in presenting dissent from the views with which many people seem to be very content. This includes those views called "religious."

Who now says that Martin Luther, in 1517, should have considered whether or not his Theses offended Pope Leo X before he nailed them to the door of the church in Wittenberg? Should Mohammed have considered the offensiveness of his opposition to idolatry of the Qureysh to them?....

Those who would have us restrict, limit, and punish dissent, because dissent by its nature will offend someone, should consider that where they stand has come from what has offended in the past, and to realize they do not enjoy the epitome, the ultimate development from which dissent should be impossible and offense be outlawed.

Kenneth H. Bonbnell, in AU Newsletter, reprinted in Humanist in Canada, Autumn 1990. Subscriptions to Humanist in Canada are $15/year, from P.O. Box 3769, Postal Station C, Ottawa, Ontario K1 Y 4J8.

Published in the Connexions Digest #53, January 1991



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