Free press includes offending other religions and not expecting a punch, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, which contradicted what the Pope said. The Pope said people “cannot insult the faith of others”, claiming that he would punch anybody who offended his mother.
Not only do people have that freedom, Mr. Cameron said, people who are offended do not have the right to seek vengeance, he added. Clearly, he was referring to the murder of Charlie Hebdo employees in Paris last week.
The Pope surprised many, including members of the clergy across the globe, when he said press freedom does not include insulting other people’s faiths.
During a flight last week, he looked at Alberto Gasparri, the man who organizes his trips, and said “If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” and threw a pretend punch in his direction.
Mr. Cameron being interviewed by Bob Schieffer in “Face the Nation”.
“It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others,” the Pope said.
The Pope did add, however, that it was an “aberration’ to kill in the name of God.” Religion cannot be used to justify violence, he added.
Following the so-called revenge killings of Charlie Hebdo personnel, French President François Hollande and millions of people across the world have defended the satirical magazine for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Regarding individuals who offend people’s religious beliefs, the Pope explained “There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others. They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.”
Mr. Cameron, in an interview on the CBS TV program “Face the Nation” during his visit to the United States, said regarding the Pope’s comment that one cannot make fun of faith:
“I’m a Christian. If someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive, but in a free society I don’t have a right to wreak my vengeance upon them … My job is not to tell a newspaper what to publish or what not to publish. My job is to uphold the law that they can publish things within the law.”
In the same interview, when asked whether the threat of terrorism in the UK is greater than ever, Mr. Cameron said:
“Well, in Britain’s history we’ve had some very intense times of terrorist threats. So, I wouldn’t want to try to scale it in that way. But certainly, we face a very severe threat. That’s what we’re calling it, severe, because we believe an attack is highly likely.”
“What I don’t want to do is try to posit that there’s some clash of civilizations going on, because that is what the terrorists want. They want this to be seen as a war between what they see as the true Islam, and the rest, and that’s not the case. What these terrorists represent is the perversion of a major religion, and not its true adherence.”
The interviewer, Bob Schieffer, then asked Mr. Cameron what he called US President Barack Obama, given that he sometimes called Cameron “bro”. The British Prime Minister answered “I don’t (have a nickname for him). No. If I did, I probably wouldn’t tell you.”
Video – The Pope talking about freedom of expression