Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Considering Charlie Hebdo...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

My position on organized religions is fairly well known;  rarely do I visit sites whose primary purpose is to espouse or advance a specific religion. Surfing the blogosphere today an article in Catholic League caught my eye. In light of the recent terror attack in Paris the article has great relevancy and for this reason Rational Nation USA is reprinting it here in full.


January 7, 2015 by Bill
Filed under Latest News Releases
2015 - January Releases

CHARLIE HEBDO - Bill Donohue comments on the killing of 12 people at the Paris office of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo:

Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.

Those who work at this newspaper have a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of their depictions of religious figures. For example, they have shown nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms. They have also shown Muhammad in pornographic poses.

While some Muslims today object to any depiction of the Prophet, others do not. Moreover, visual representations of him are not proscribed by the Koran. What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. On this aspect, I am in total agreement with them.

Stephane Charbonnier, the paper’s publisher, was killed today in the slaughter. It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death. In 2012, when asked why he insults Muslims, he said, “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me.” Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive. Muhammad isn’t sacred to me, either, but it would never occur to me to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing him.

Anti-Catholic artists in this country have provoked me to hold many demonstrations, but never have I counseled violence. This, however, does not empty the issue. Madison was right when he said, “Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power. (Emphasis mine)


  1. Really Bill Donahue? You idiot. I don't like the way certain political groups depict President Obama and his family as witch doctors, apes, pimps, and whores. But would that excuse me or anyone for bringing death and mayhem on people who use their 1st Amendment rights to do so? Of course not. So why would Donahue think that religious icons and prophets are so special that those who mock them deserve the violence that their adherents bring down on those who insult their images?

    That is insane. And inexcusable. Donahue is an idiot who doesn't understand that no one deserves to be slaughtered just because they use satire and mockery against a religious icon anymore than they deserve to die for using satire and mockery against a political figure.

    Religion does not deserve any special privileges in this matter. That people like Donahue believe it should is the reason religious fanatics feel justified in slaughtering people who draw pictures and who do not harm anyone in doing so. It is RELIGIOUS people who murder, not people like the staff of Charlie Hebdo.

    1. I completely agree with you Shaw Kenawe (until your final sentence, which is selective on your part).

      Donahue, in his blaming the victims and condemning the commendable, shows he is on the same basic side as the terrorists. No, not nearly as extreme, but of the same awful mindset. And no, that is not a characterization of religious zeal, but of their hatred of free artistic expression/dissent.

  2. I believe Donahue clearly stated the actions of the Muslim terrorists, or any other such action by anyone can not be tolerated. That killing in response to a slight is wrong.

    I read his brief remarks as a call for tolerance snd understanding combined with respect. Something progressives typically espouse .

    Hopefully the terrorist murderers are apprehended and put to death.

    1. Donahue wrote: "But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction."

      So he's advocating intolerance in that statement. Intolerance toward satire and mockery of all religions, because what I understand from his statements is that should not be tolerated.

      But he fails to explain who will decide what is vulgar and what isn't, what is an insult and what isn't.

      My question to him would be why should religion have a special dispensation from satire? Do he and others who believe in omnipotent gods and dead prophets actually believe they are "insulted" by drawings? What nonsense.

      Those same Muslims who believe their prophet is insulted by mockery and satire are the same people who routinely mock and insult Jews in the most revolting manner. And the Jewish people they insult are living, breathing humans, not dead prophets or invisible sky gods. So I would tell Donahue that his "sympathies" toward the Muslims whose feelings are so tender in these matters--so tender that they slaughter innocent human beings--I would tell Donahue that his sympathies are grossly misplaced and absurd.

    2. Shaw: And there I agree completely with you. Donahue's message is so filled with justification for intolerance that, to me, it completely overshadows any "call for tolerance and understanding" that apparently Les sees.

      Where I differ some, Shaw, is that the ability to speak out on anything, or any "sacred cows" that I defend is independent of whether or not the content is 'religious".

      "I would tell Donahue that his sympathies are grossly misplaced and absurd."

      Indeed. Any person like Donahue who would organize a "demonstration'" in an attempt to pressure an artist to not make art is definitely part of the problem. Not "equivalent" to those would would murder the artist, but definitely part of the problem, and more similar than not.

  3. Bill Donahue deserves no attention. He is a Catholic fundamentalist blowhard and IMO, a disgrace to that religion.

  4. I have commented unfavorably on Donahue in the past. Make no mistake, I am not a Donahue fan as I certainly do not share his philosophy. However, I read his
    comments and took them at face value. I
    get he has an agenda and is likely using
    this vile act of Islamic terror to advance his

    I chose to strip his agenda away and just focus on the concepts of respect, tolerance, and understanding embodied in the words. Sometimes it just makes sense to look past the politics, drama, and BS.

    As I said, when the terrorists have had their day in court may th "fry in hell".

    And may Donahue again fade into obscurity until such time as he speaks sensible thoughts, either intentionally or unintentionally.

  5. I think he comes across as a bit of a nut anyway. Even if he does not cross the line into demanding violence:

    "Anti-Catholic artists in this country have provoked me to hold many demonstrations"

    I mean, come ON! If you don't like what an artist does, ignore it. The idea of holding demonstrations in order to intimate artists is a very ugly idea in itself.

  6. Hey, this is the good old USA; right? Anyone can protest any damn thing/issue they like; right? As long as it is peaceful and does not obstruct anothers ability to carry on their nomal activities; correct?

    Donahue is a bit of a nut, as are most religious zealots IMO. However, we all have a right to protest that which we disapprove of. We do not have a right to FORCE our beliefs on others who do not willing share then nor does ANYONE have the right to kill in the name of a prophet, god, religion, etc.

    Even "idiots" have the right to peacefully protest, whether they see the absurdity of doing so or not. With respect to this post it is what it is, make of it what you will.

  7. Oh, I agree he has the RIGHT. But I think it is particularly loathsome for him to "demonstrate" against someone's basic freedom. Even if this demonstration itself IS a basic freedom.

    It's like that old Skokie KKK march. Loathsome, but permissable.

  8. False equivalency dmarks. The KKK are like the Muslim terrorists, not Donahue.

    1. "False equivalency dmarks"

      No, it wasn't. I wasn't claiming an equivalence... again. Only a similarity.

      In terms of the KKK doing what they did in Skokie, which I referred specifically too, there is indeed a similarity to "demonstrating" against artistic freedom.

      I'd never claim "equivalence" on this, because hatred of all Jews, Blacks, Catholics etc is much much worse than hatred of artists.

  9. The sad thing is if people had peacefully demonstrated their displeasure with CH, they probably would have garnered sympathy and support. But these three scumbags don't care about any of that. They want world war three.


  10. Donahue was offended by some remarks by PZ Meyers of the Pharyngula blog regarding Donahue's
    defense of pedophile priests. Such is his temper, he had his followers flood Meyers with e-mails, shutting him down temporarily. Legal, but inconvenient. Meyers is quite popular among the secular and scientific community, and many wanted to retaliate, but he just stated..'we don't do that'. IMO,
    In this case, what Donahue has done is lay the blame for the murders on the victims rather than the

  11. Everyone (including me) could be considered intolerant in their comments by someone. There exists a certain degree of subjectivity in all this.

    IMV the important aspect is that violence, destruction, and murder of innocents individuals is absent in protests.

    The artistry of the satirists showed disrespect for a revered prophet of Islam and the looney terrorists reacted. So, does it make sense to taunt them? If you do expect violence and death.

    Personally; those dudes are scum and the religion that spawned them is a violent religion as framed in the Quran. There, my intolerance is showing. If and when Donahue becomes violent and calls for or engages in violence; destruction, and death in the name of Christ my intolerance will be just as swift and sure.

    So you be the judge. Tolerance or intolerance? When and how much in each case? Respect for human life must trump all else and those like these terrorists who have no respect for human life really don't deserve tolerance.

    But it is fun playing the devil's advocate from time to time.

  12. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Saudi blogger who was sentenced last May to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes will be publicly flogged for the first time after Friday prayers outside a mosque in the Red Sea coastal city of Jiddah, a person close to his case said Thursday.

    Raif Baddawi was sentenced on charges related to accusations that he insulted Islam on a liberal online forum he had created. He was also ordered by the Jiddah Criminal Court to pay a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals, or about $266,000.

    Rights groups and activists say his case is part of a wider clampdown on dissent throughout the kingdom. Officials have increasingly blunted calls for reforms since the region's 2011 Arab Spring upheaval.

    The RCC acted similarly before and during the counter-Reformation, clamping down on ALL dissents and burning heretics who did not follow the dictates of Rome and the popes. It took too many years for that sort of retribution by Rome and its slaughter of people of conscience to stop.

    So here humankind is in the 21st century, and another religion (of 1 billion+ adherents) is doing what the old Inquisitors of the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries did in Spain, Portugal and Italy. So long as religions appeal to ignorance, superstitions, and hatred of the Other, we humans will continue to suffer the consequences.

  13. Well, I sorta understand what you are trying to say, and sorta agree with some reservations:

    Rather than Donahue, who is untrustworthy in my opinion, I think you would have been on safer ground with just the Madison quotation:

    Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power …

    Since we live in a world that grows smaller, more crowded, and more complex with each passing year, it behooves us to conduct our public and private lives with more reserve and forethought. It is a theme that appears in my writings of late:

    As parents, we try to teach children the relationship between responsibility and freedom. Parents reward good behavior with confidence and trust and punish misconduct with more supervision and less independence. A reasonable proposition for raising children; yet we do not practice as adults what we preach to our children. Ours has become a society that fails to find balance in this relationship. Every public controversy, and every perceived loss of freedom (whether imagined or real), represents a failure of responsibility …

    We equate freedom with excess and excess with freedom. We facilitate overindulgence without moderation or self-restraint. We covet freedom but spurn responsibility. With each passing year, we drive all standards of civility, community and accountability further into the wilderness.

    Not all responsible behaviors should be mandated by the clergy or by the government. There comes a time when we should practice moderation and restraint by ourselves. It is not always necessary to resort to offensive overkill to get across our point (unless you are hell bent on starting a paradigm war with the entire third world). After all, we are no longer children. We can do better.

  14. Intolerance breeds intolerance. Is it not reasonable to think the opposite true as well?

    And really isn't intolerance and the lack of respect for other viewpoints and beliefs at the heart of the post?

    I liked Madison's quote so much I emphasized it in my post. I am thankful you picked up on it
    (O)CT(O)PUS and ran with that ball. You expressed it better than I could have.

    With freedom comes responsibility, the greater the freedom the greater the responsibility. As individuals we all need to take ownership of our actions and accept fully we are accountable for our and accept personal responsibility for them.

    Common sense should be ones individual guide as to behavior. Treat others as you wish to be treated, or, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Simple, yet apparently complex.

    Thanks for your insight (O)CT(O)PUS.

  15. How do you know when Bill Donohue is saying something stupid? It's simple, his mouth is moving (though I do much appreciate the fact that he's given "South Park" ammo).

  16. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  17. My depiction of the prophet, Muhammad, bears a striking resemblance to Chumley from "Tennessee Tuxedo". Hopefully it doesn't offend.

    1. I loved that cartoon. Great Don Adams as the obnoxious penguin.

    2. No offense to "Get Smart", but "Tennessee Tuxedo" was finest part....And like you said, he nailed the thing.


As this site encourages free speech and expression any and all honest political commentary is acceptable. Comments with cursing or vulgar language will not be posted.

Effective 3/4/18 Anonymous commenting has been disabled and this site has reverted to comment moderation. This unfortunate action is necessary due to the volume of Anonymous comments that are either off topic or irrelevant to the post subject.

While we appreciate and encourage all political viewpoints we feel no obligation to post comments that fail to rise to the standards of decency and decorum we have set for Rational Nation USA.

Thank you for your understanding... The management.