Viv (vivh) wrote,

Our rights

I have been reading and hearing so much about religious freedom and freedom of speech, both in the media and here on LJ. With two big issues in this area currently in the news, I suppose that's inevitable.

The way it seems to me, I have the right to express my beliefs, (so does everyone else), others have the right to disagree with me, and to criticise my beliefs. I guess people also have the right to be offended by my beliefs or my expression of them. I have to accept that other people have the right to beliefs different to my own, but they don't have the right to force their beliefs on me, nor should I force my beliefs on them.

So much for our rights, but I think sometimes we should consider carefully how we exercise the right of free speech. It would be wise to consider the consequences of our words: will they hurt or offend others, will they cause problems far beyond our intended audience, would it be better to hold our tongues (or pens)? Wisdom it seems to me is probably the key. I'm not sure it was wise to publish those cartoons, nor to reprint them. I'm sure it's not wise to threaten death over such things. I'm not sure it's wise to make sweeping generalisations about groups of people based on a small group, or a personal experience.

I don't believe legislation can solve these problems, but I think wisdom, tolerance and respect for others can.
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