The Catholic Church would like you to encourage the CEO of Showtime and CBS to censor free speech. They want Penn and Teller’s show, Bullshit, to be canceled because they have the audacity to speak critically of the church. I would like you to encourage exactly the opposite.
In an article on Catholic.org, Deacon Keith Fournier has this to say:
“CBS management has spoken to the Catholic-bashing duo before, but to no effect. Though we are not calling for CBS/Showtime to cancel the upcoming episode, we are saying that the time has come to pull the plug on their show; their contract should not be renewed.
“Those who agree should contact Matthew Blank, the Chairman and CEO of Showtime.
Let’s be perfectly clear about this. The Catholic Church wants the public airwaves to be censored so that they are not publicly criticized. This is no small request. It is a request for fascism, pure and simple. I’m requesting that every reader of this blog, whether Christian, atheist, or otherwise, oppose this kind of blatant repression of free thought.
I am openly atheist, and openly critical — often harshly critical — of religion. I believe theists have every right to openly criticize me and present their own evidence in support of their own position. Open dialog is how we find answers. I believe that open searching for truth is the best way to leave religion. The religious believe open searching for truth will lead to god. If I’m wrong, I want the church to have every opportunity to tell me. If I’m right, I demand every opportunity to say so.
Please, take the time to write a letter to the CEO of Showtime, encouraging him not only to air the upcoming Penn and Teller show, but to encourage diversity of opinion, and to actively resist suppression of unpopular speech simply because it is unpopular.
Here is my letter:
Dear Mr. Blank,
It has come to my attention that the Catholic Church, through their spokesman Deacon Keith Fournier, has called for the ultimate form of media censorship against Penn and Teller for their outspoken criticism of the Church. In the letter, Fournier says, “CBS management has spoken to the Catholic-bashing duo before, but to no effect. Though we are not calling for CBS/Showtime to cancel the upcoming episode, we are saying that the time has come to pull the plug on their show; their contract should not be renewed. Those who agree should contact Matthew Blank, the Chairman and CEO of Showtime.”
Mr. Blank, I am a non-believer, and I support the Catholic Church’s right to use any avenues available to them to promote their own system of belief. It would be absolutely hypocritical of me to not demand the same for people who hold alternative beliefs, even when those beliefs might be offensive to Catholics.
In America, we have the right to free speech, and nowhere in the Constitution are we granted the freedom from being offended. No matter how offensive the Church finds Penn and Teller’s position, they have no right to demand censorship. Their attempt to classify criticism as “hate speech” is inflammatory and baseless.
Please continue to support Penn and Teller’s program, as well as any other popular programs whose goal is to present viewpoints that often run contrary to the majority opinion. Freedom of speech is one of our dearest and most valuable rights. Please do the right thing, even if it proves unpopular with the Church.
Please feel free to repost this blog to as many people as you can. The important thing here is that we support free speech for everyone, and oppose censorship of ideas simply because they are offensive to one part of the population.