Events in France in recent days revolving around the massacre of journalists at Charlie Hebdo by Islamic extremists that left over 17 people dead has ignited a debate on religious extremism and freedom of speech.
I have read many articles from those in the Left Hand Path which say that freedom of speech should never be restricted, I agree. But with any liberties comes responsibility and penalties if harm is done to others in the abuse of freedom of speech. As an example, if my child died, and the Westboro Baptist Church picket my child’s funeral, I will express Satanic Lex Talionis; Westboro would be lucky to escape with a minimum of broken bones; I might go to jail for my attack on Westboro, but I would feel justified and vindicated as a Satanist for my dead son. Just as there are many who support Charlie Hebdo‘s right to freedom of speech, it becomes contradictory to give them blanket protection from the consequences of their publications.
Charlie Hebdo had a reputation of pushing freedom of speech to the limits by attacking ideas that Muslims held sacred, creating widespread anger, leading to death threats, firebombings and even a need for police protection of some staff. As a Satanist I totally support Charlie Hebdo printing whatever they like, but I have no sympathy for any complaints of negative consequences arising from what they print. It is like me saying that you are free to enter the gate with a sign saying dangerous dog, but don’t blame me if the dog rips you face off if you enter the gate. The consequences for Charlie Hebdo staff was that Muslim extremists massacred them.
The Charlie Hebdo events shows that Islamic extremists are now better organized and confident enough on the back of ISIS successes to bring death and destruction to those they consider enemies of Islam in the West. Some Christians in the USA have been taking notice of ISIS successes and are making noises, though as yet failing to act on those noises, of copying ISIS tactics. Fortunately for Satanists there is a great void between a Christian and Muslim; Christians value their lives, a Muslim is happy to suicide bomb an enemy.
Religious or dogmatic extremism is a problem that Satanists may need to take notice of; those that will do anything they can to make their interpretation of truth the only accepted one in political, economic and social decision making in society, whilst pushing for the persecution or banning of opposing minority rivals such as Satanism. Extremism exists even amongst Satanists: the militant Laveyanism of Peter Gilmore, head of the Church of Satan; the extremism of Tom Blackwood, self-proclaimed head of theistic Satanism; the Order of Nine Angles who advocate the murder of everyone, including Satanists, who do not follow their interpretation of truth. Even amongst atheists Richard Dawkins has become a militant extremist of atheism. All these extremists wish to force their interpretation of truth upon others, claiming freedom of speech whilst denying the liberties of others.
Satanic Temple has pursued campaigns to protect the split of religion from state, and their advocacy of minority rights against religious persecution, helpfully provoked interest amongst pagans and Luciferians to create their own versions of their campaigning movement. As the events in France show, perhaps it is time Satanists take a more proactive role to curbing religious or dogmatic extremism’s attempts to control government and society.