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Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain in The Times on insulting religions

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain of Maidenhead Synagogue wrote to The Times concerning the Pope’s recent comments following the Paris attacks.

Sir, If Pope Francis (“Mock Islam and expect a punch, says Pope”, Jan 15) can throw a punch, others can justify using a Kalashnikov. Satire or insults hurt only when they reveal a truth that others wish to hide, be it rogue rabbis, paedophile priests or horrible humanists. When it is offensive without cause, it falls flat and just reflects badly on the source.

After all, religious satire originates in the Bible, when Elijah tells the prophets of Baal that the reason their God is not answering their prayers is that he has fallen asleep or gone to the loo, and so they should shout louder to get his attention (I Kings 18.27).

Religious groups — or anyone else — need fear ridicule only when they are being ridiculous; in all other cases, the old adage about sticks and stones is still the best advice.

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