This morning I had engaging discussions on Twitter with people, many of whom I don’t know, about giving and taking offence, hate speech and free speech.
Here, I recapture my thoughts, in what I’d presumptuously like to call Ten Commandments Regarding Offence, meant for people who feel offended:
1. An artist/writer/person can say whatever s/he wants, even if it is offensive.
2. If it is offensive to you, don’t read it.
3. If you feel strongly against it, argue against it.
4. But don’t threaten violence against that writer or artist, nor should one be violent.
5. If what offends you is about your faith, remember that your gods are strong enough to take “insults” that you think are grave or obscene. They are meant to protect you, not the other way round.
6. If a writer criticises one god, s/he doesn’t have to criticise all gods. They don’t have equal opportunity obligations.
7. Nor is it obligatory that writers (or artists) must offend.
8. And nor is it obligatory for writers (or artists) to love all faiths, or to respect each (or any) faith, or to love your god and your faith because those are important to you.
9. Keep your faith to yourself. You will value it far more than others might.
10. Life is short, so look elsewhere; something better will turn up, and you will forget about having felt offended.