Pope Francis: Free Expression is a Fundamental Right, But “You Cannot Insult the Faith of Others”

You’ll be thrilled to learn that he Vatican is totally in favor of free speech.

There are, however, two notable exceptions: faith, and the Pope’s mom.

Calling freedom of expression a “fundamental” human right, the pope outlined why he believes there are limits to that right. If someone “says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” he joked, according to an Associated Press translation. “It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

That’s cute. We can, we have, and we will.



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Gay Teacher Fired From Catholic School: I Will Not Give My Time, Talent, or Treasure “to a Bigoted Organization”

Another Catholic school teacher has been fired from a job he loved because he married his same-sex partner. Except this person isn’t afraid to dole out the b-word when talking about the church he grew up in.

Lonnie Billard (below), 68, was an English and drama teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School for 13 years and a follower of the Catholic faith for his entire life. He and his boyfriend, Rich Donham, have been together for over a decade. Billard says he had always introduced Donham to colleagues as his partner, and there had never been a problem.



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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Paper Digitally Removes Female Leaders From Paris Photo

File under “Jews with Cooties”:

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper in Israel appears to have edited out female world leaders from a photograph of Sunday’s anti-terrorism rally in Paris, Israeli media reported. … Presidents, prime ministers and royals from around the world flew in to show their support and posed arm-in-arm for a picture that became a symbol for the sorrow felt across the world in the wake of the attacks.

Readers of at least one Jewish news outlet were shielded from the disgraceful spectacle of men and women walking side by side.

[W]hen ultra-Orthodox paper HaMevaser (The Announcer) ran the iconic photo, female leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo were all of a sudden missing from the scene.



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Christian Author of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven Recants Story, Saying “I Thought It Would Get Me Attention”

We’re used to hearing stories about children with Christian parents who, facing some tragedy, “go to Heaven” and then come back to tell us all about it. Colton Burpo, the subject of the late-2010 book Heaven is For Real, is perhaps the most famous example. (Dr. Eben Alexander wrote a similar sort of book, Proof of Heaven, in 2012.)

But before both of those books went viral, there was the story of Alex Malarkey, the subject of the mid-2010 book The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven:

Here’s the description of the book, published by Tyndale House:

In 2004, Kevin Malarkey and his six-year-old son, Alex, suffered an horrific car accident. The impact from the crash paralyzed Alex—and medically speaking, it was unlikely that he could survive. “I think Alex has gone to be with Jesus,” a friend told the stricken dad.

But two months later, Alex awoke from a coma with an incredible story to share. Of events at the accident scene and in the hospital while he was unconscious. Of the angels that took him through the gates of heaven itself. Of the unearthly music that sounded just terrible to a six-year-old. And, most amazing of all… Of meeting and talking to Jesus.

Last year, something weird happened. Alex’s mother Beth wrote on her blog that she basically disowned the book. It wasn’t just wrong on the theology; it was exaggerated:

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Watch These Christian Men Apologize for Allowing Women They Slept With to Have Abortions

In a video put out by anti-abortion group HeroicMedia, a bunch of male pastors explain how sorry they are for letting women have abortions.

They even say to the camera, “I had an abortion,” because abortions are really all about them. And then they apologize to everyone who’s ever had an abortion, since that’s what you all really wanted from them.



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