Humans deserve respect; ideas do not.
This is the core tenet of humanism.
No ideology is so sacred that it cannot be scrutinised, debated or satirised. Human beings have rights and freedoms. Ideas do not. Hatred has no place in civilised human society. Social justice is not retribution.
So when I saw a short article where Imtiaz Mahmood made this remark: “We don’t like religion but have no hatred for theists except extremists,” I pointed out that even murderers and rapists are human and should not be hated. What we preach is empathy and justice, not hatred and retribution.
Most humanists around the world are opposed to the death penalty because they believe every human being deserves to be treated with dignity. No one should possess the right to take the life of another as a form of punishment, especially in a world where innocent people are frequently sent to prison.
I agree that separating people from their ideas and thoughts is not yam and beans, and that we frequently shame and humiliate people for being racists and advocates of genocide and unjustified war. But it is my firm conviction that no one should be punished for merely voicing disagreeable thoughts. Thought crimes are antithetical to fundamental freedoms.
By all means, go ahead and justify misogyny and slavery and massacres of peaceful protesters. I will assert my right to peacefully disagree, and I will defend to the death, your freedom of speech. Your account should not be locked down and you should not lose your job.
Indeed, you may be a good family man or woman, and I do not hate you; but your ideas? I detest and I will demolish!
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