Thursday, February 23, 2006

Free Speech?

Stanley Fish in his op-ed piece ("Our Faith in Letting It All Hang Out") for the NYT correctly identifies the root of the reason why the Danes went ahead and did what they did. He says, "The first tenet of the liberal religion is that everything (at least in the realm of expression and ideas) is to be permitted, but nothing is to be taken seriously." This is why the freedom of speech of today's liberal West has become such a sacred cow. All ties to any absolute have been cut. And the only absolute is that everything is relative.

I have been reading John Stott's book, Christian Mission in the Modern World (for a class of course) and one of the words he deals with is "dialogue." A definition which he puts forward is one that I really like: "Dialogue is a conversation in which each party is serious in his approach both to the subject and to the other person, and desires to listen and learn as well as speak and instruct." In what way were the Danish newspaper's cartoons a "serious approach" to dialogue? They certainly haven't been very good at listening. Did they even attempt to?

What is worse is that now others are paying the price for their insensitivity! The Anglican Church in Nigeria has been under attack especially in the Northern Provinces. One of the board members of our seminary, Bishop Kwashi's family was subjected to a vicious attack and were robbed. And I just came across a BBC interview with Bishop Cyril Okorocha of Nigeria who speaks about the tension that has boiled over down there. Apparently over 100 people (both Christians and Muslims) have already been killed as a result of this violence so far.

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