Religious people have got all sorts of epithets for those who belong to different religions or who simply choose not to be religious like me.
Pagans! Infidels! Apostates! Sinners! The condemned! Heathens! All these are among some of the choice invective persistently spewed from pulpits and podiums week in week out. It shows that the religious have obsolutely no qualms insulting or even threatening those who do not hold the same views as themselves.
Author Salman Rushdie had to live much of his life under protection after he penned a book mildly critical of Islam. The history of Christianity is littered with burnings are the stake, beheadings and other forms of murder of those who dared disagree with the demagogues of the time.
Recently, during the attack at Westgate Mall in Kenya, people were specifically targeted and cruelly butchered for not belonging to a specific religion.
The world is overflowing with art and drawings depicting us the non-religious being fried by a red man with horns, hoofed feet, a pointed tail and a three pronged pitchfork. Even more depict us in all sorts of inglorious situations, often associating us with evil.
Yet there is absolutely no single fact that links atheism to evil. If anything non-religious people are often the most prepared to accept others. They are often humanist who value people for simply being human not according to what views they hold, or background they come from.
Just this week one of my favourite cartoonists, Zapiro was taken to task for 'insulting' the Hindu religion. I fail to understand how his cartoon, which was merely criticical of India bullying South Africa in the cricket sphere, could have been deemed to be insulting to Hinduism.
Anyone with the slightest knowledge of geography and current affairs will associate Hinduism with India. So what better way is there of symbolising India than using a Hindu symbol. To me that does not in any way amount to any sort of afront or insult to Hinduism.
There is absolutely no reason, to try and impinge on Zapiro's freedom of expression over it.
The question I want to ask religious people is, if you have the right to mock and insult us non-religious people, why can't you afford us the right to do exactly the same back to you. If you have the right to express yourself any way you want, surely you should have no trouble understanding the simple common sense that others have got exactly the same right as well.
If you have got the right to be critical of things not associated with you, others have got the same right to be critical of things not associated with them, which might mean you.
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