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Knowledge is power.

Knowledge is power.

Last post, we featured the story of Luke, the ambitious intern who lost everything simply because he wanted to be the CEO. But the interesting part about it to me is that Luke, in the scant passages in which he’s mentioned in the Bible, did not actually do anything wrong. And that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

Free Speech and Charlie Hebdo

Even if atheists constantly take the mickey out of right wing nuts, there is always something that they can agree upon: They don’t like radical Islam. Yes, despite our differences, we always find that we can put those aside in service of the greater idea that “Hey, you, with the bombs and stuff, maybe don’t.” One of the more vivid attacks of explicitly religiously motivated violence was the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper that pushed the bounds of the acceptable, the appropriate, and even the kind.

The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie was passed around the internet at breakneck speed, and I remember my own soul vibrating when they announced that the next week’s issue would carry on as usual, because I think that’s what bravery looks like. But this isn’t so much about Charlie Hebdo as it is about the major talking point that came out of the tragedy: Free Speech.

Sam Harris came out and talked about how the “complexity’ argument doesn’t hold water when thinking about the fact that people have been murdered over things that they drew. Pope Francis came out and said bizarre things about how freedom of speech doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t reasonably expect violence for criticizing faith (massive eye roll goes right here, boys). And the point is that even though this happened in France, where they inevitably have a different nuance of what “free speech” means to them, ideologues from both sides agreed that this attack, and any retribution of violence to words was disproportionate and an attack on the concept of free speech.

…but God apparently hates free speech

The passage in Isaiah 14 shows that Lucifer claims that he wants to be like the Most High, and God casts him out of heaven because of this. Revelation 12 shows that a third of the angels were kicked out of heaven simply for agreeing with him. And God relentlessly continues to follow Luke throughout the galaxy and punish him wherever he can find him, which happens to be hanging out with two naked people in a garden. Given the fact that snakes don’t talk today, we can only assume that stripping away poor Luke’s powers of speech was part and parcel of being cursed above all livestock.

I point this out because a core element of the right wing is protection of free speech. It’s a core element of this country as well. However, when you consider a God who casts people out of Heaven for saying they want his job, silencing differing opinions and punishing those who agree with said opinions, choosing blasphemy above rape to codify in his enduring law, and forcing people to say and do things they are not interested in doing (Pharaoh, the King of Heshbon, everyone involved in the whole “Every knee shall bow” bit), it becomes clear that this God doesn’t care about free speech one bit.

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