US reacts cautiously on Pope’s statement on freedom of speech

The Pope condemned any killing in God's name, but had also insisted there were limits to freedom of speech.

By: Press Trust of India | Washington | Published: January 16, 2015 10:19 am
Pope Francis, right, is welcomed by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III as he arrives for the welcoming ceremony Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 at the Presidential Palace grounds in Manila, Philippines. Pope Francis is on a five-day apostolic visit in this predominantly Catholic nation in Asia. (Source: AP) Pope Francis, right, is welcomed by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III  (Source: AP)

The US has reacted cautiously to the statement made by the Pope Francis on freedom of speech, who had said such rights entail limits and that other people’s religion could not be insulted or mocked.

Noting that freedom of speech comes with responsibilities, the US said that violence in no way could be justified to disagreements on freedom of speech.

“There is no act of public expression in terms of free speech that would in any way justify an act of violence. That is a principle that we have reiterated on a number of occasions. I think it’s something that the vast majority of the world agrees with.

“That is a part of the show of solidarity that we saw in Paris last week; it was standing up for that principle,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

The Pope on Thursday condemned any killing in God’s name, but had also insisted there were limits to freedom of speech and said other people’s religion could not be insulted or mocked.

“Freedom of speech is a right and a duty that must be displayed without offending,” he had said.

Earnest also said, “At the same time freedom of expression and freedom of speech also comes with a set of responsibilities,” he said.

“But regardless of how one arrives at those kinds of ethical decisions, there is no scenario in which an act of free speech justifies an act of violence.”

While the Pope condemned the terrorist attack on the French satirical weekly, he said, “You cannot provoke, you cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

However, he added, “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion — that is, in the name of God. To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”

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