The Religion Exception

American news media outlets refused to show the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that provoked the slaughter of 12 people in Paris last week on the grounds that their policies forbid the depiction of imagery that intentionally mocks religion. Which opens up a great loophole for politicians in trouble.

5 thoughts on “The Religion Exception

  1. Ted,

    It’s a two-fold disaster.

    First, it’s a loophole that can only expand. Example: “Homosexuals offend my religious beliefs, therefore, you simply cannot post photos in the weddings section of gay couples. Nor can you post non-photographic items. Nor can you mention gay marrieds.”

    From there, it just increases in complexity. Some people genuinely believe (due to their religion) that miscegenation is an abomination. So can any reporting be done on Tiger Woods and his mistresses? Or his wife? And that’s just one mainline religion. What happens when the Church of the Flaming Sword of the One True God, Boo-Boo, (East Lansing division) comes along with outrage over weather forecasts? “Only the Lord, Boo-Boo, can cause the weather to happen. Attempts to predict the weather are an offense before Our God.”

    There is, literally, nothing left that can be reported. The journalists will spend all day, every day, wondering whether someone will write in to object. To anything.

    Second, of course, is the Pavlovian portion of this. When the New York Times knuckles under, it conditions both sides. The terrorists are probably standing around saying, “Holy Hannah! Look at that! The Times folded. What else can we try? It’ll have to be bigger and even better next time. We’ve got momentum.” The journalists are standing around learning that caving in is considered acceptable. “Well, the Times folded like a cheap card table. We don’t want to appear extreme!”

    What killed journalism? When the journalists stopped being bastards and started being corporate puddles.

    • Oh settle down, Alex. It reads ‘intentionally mocking.’ I may be an atheist and dislike such policies, but I know we’ve got much bigger problems than fundamentalists. Either way, I’m skeptical such mocking changes any minds. It preaches to the choir in an echo chamber and inflames those outside it.

  2. In the decades long war for Middle East oil, one side claims to kill for religious god of “God” and another side claims to kill for the secular god of “Democracy”.

    The crazies are running the asylum.

    • The crazies have always run the asylum – just leaf through the dire catalogue of religious wars (not least in France, which is one of the reasons that la laîcité is considered so importnt there). The problem is that with the weapons now at their disposal – and I’m not talking about Kalashinikovs !), they could easily put an end to human life on the planet….


  3. What happened? What happened is the Internet – a Pandora’s Box if there ever was one. The changes it has initiated are still rolling and roiling across the world. Every Tom, Dick and Harry not only has a chance to put their two cents in now, but it has also diluted the media and journalism to the extent that clear lines defining them have all but disappeared. What’s seen in the cartoon above is the fear and trepidation of being singled out and piled on for fear of offending anyone living in the Tower of Babel that is one face of the Internet.

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