Offense

Invoking offense is taken to mean that person or group A has affronted person or group B because of an action or statement. That P is offensive to S says nothing about whether S should be offended by P. I may be offended by someone holds a sign saying, “If Jesus comes back, kill him again.” Strictly speaking, my response of offense does not mean that the sentiment of this sign is wrong. But even if it is wrong, my being offended by the sign does not make it wrong.

Thus, saying “P offends me” only indicates that I am offended by P. The question of note is whether S has a case that the offensive statement or action is morally wrong. Therefore, I suggest we drop the use of offense as having any logical or moral weight at all. Instead of shrieking in outrage or sulking in affront, perhaps a few logical arguments are in order.

Muslims throughout their history have been offended by anything that contradicts their religion. Event after event reveals that they usually make threats and harm or kill those who offend them. No one should be intellectually intimidated by this—although one may rightly fear harm. That Muslim M is offended by a crucifix in a Catholic school does not mean that

  1. M should be offended.
  2. The Catholic school should do anything to accommodate the offense.

Further, given the American legal system, freedom of speech and religion are guaranteed in the First Amendment. Being offensed does nothing to alter that.


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