There's been alot of controversy here lately regarding freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It all started because of a newspaper article stating that satanism is a religion and that satanist should have the right to practice their religion under the constitution, which protects freedom of religion. There was a public outcry with people threatening, not only to no longer purchase the newspaper in question, but also to boycott any shops stocking this newspaper if the journalist who had written the article was not fired.
The newspaper then fired the journalist which resulted in an outcry from the media, touting freedom of speech. There was also alot of talk by the media about freedom of religion. There were even some reports saying that satanism was not actually evil and talk of satanists being misunderstood.
I had alot of thoughts about this, but I'll only touch on a few issues.
Firstly, since when is satanism not evil? Surely if a person believes that satan exists, they also believe that he is evil? And if they worship him, and follow his "teachings", are they not also evil? To say that satanism is just another religion and not actually evil seems absolutely ridiculous to me.
Secondly, to say that they are protected by the constitution because it is a religion just makes me think that we can twist anything and claim protection from the constitution. With any right comes a responsibility. I may be wrong, but I think that the constitution actually states this. Surely, even if you have a right, you cannot just act on it even if it means others will be harmed? Performing ritual sacrifices and the like is not okay as far as I'm concerned. I'm sorry, it just isn't.
Then there's the question of freedom of speech. Here, too, I believe there should be responsibility and usually there is. But was this a clear cut issue of freedom of speech? The editor felt that he had no choice: it was what his readers wanted and ultimately, if you're selling a product, you have to listen to what your clients want. He did have freedom of speech - he got to say what he wanted to and it was even published, but the readers didn't like it and decided they'd rather not hear any more from him. Is this not also their right? Do you have a right to say something if people find it offensive and don't want to be exposed to it? If not, why do we have a broadcasting complaints commission? Surely no right can be unlimited and go unchecked. From the editor's point of view it was probably more business than anything else.