Apropos of a Sikh mob in the UK forcing an "offensive" play to close, writer Lionel Shriver excoriates those who claim that religious tolerance requires suppression of "offensive" speech:
Freedom of speech that does not embrace the right to offend is a farce. ***
The concept of religious "tolerance" seems to be warping apace these days, and we appear to forget that commonly one tolerates through gritted teeth. It is rapidly becoming accepted social cant that to "tolerate" other people's religions is to accord them respect. In fact, respect for one's beliefs is gradually achieving the status of a hallowed "human right."
I am under no obligation to respect your beliefs. Respect is earned; it is not an entitlement. I may regard creationists as plain wrong, which would make holding their beliefs in high regard nonsensical. In kind, if I proclaim on a street corner that a certain Japanese beetle in my back garden is the new Messiah, you are also within your rights to ridicule me as a fruitcake. ***
... Britain's Channel Four has promoted its "Shameless Christmas Special" with billboards parodying "The Last Supper," in which Jesus, if you'll pardon the expression, is drunk as a lord. Some Christians find the ads in poor taste. I may admire the campaign as droll; the pious may pontificate about how much they deplore it. Now, that is free speech.