Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Free Inquiry publishes the Prophet Mo cartoons

As reported in God is for Suckers last week, Free Inquiry is publishing some of the Danish cartoons in their latest issue. Editor Tom Flynn on their reasons for doing so:
Free Inquiry considered it important to run a selection of the Danish cartoons. We’ve chosen to publish four in this issue—as I write, the largest number to appear in print in any nationwide U. S. publication. In part, we do this in solidarity with several European newspapers, demonstrating our commitment to the Enlightenment principle of free expression and the fundamental democratic principle of a free press. But as secular humanists we have additional grounds to think it important that these images see print. As noted in the Center for Inquiry’s mission statement, we are committed to freedom of inquiry "in every area of human endeavor," and that emphatically includes religion. No religious teaching, community, or institution should be held immune from criticism simply because it is religious in nature.


[A]s journalists and as U.S. citizens, we have the right to treat sacred matters in the same uncompromising way we might approach any other issue. Inquiry, criticism, satire, even the occasional resort to mockery—all can be within bounds, depending on the context. If we possess that right, it is a right we must defend. It is a right we surely should not quail from exercising. In particular, it is a right we should not quail from exercising for fear of reprisals by outraged believers. Exactly insofar as religious matters have important consequences in politics, society, and culture, it is imperative that they face the same exposure to the rough-and-tumble of public discourse as does any other kind of activity in which human beings engage.

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