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Blog Posted in avatar   André R. Gignac's Blog

Letter to the Editor (Part IV) - Last word to Magdalena

By André R. Gignac
Posted Sep 12, 2012 in
THIS FOURTH AND FINAL letter, written by the Editor, is a response to three letters written on the subject of science, religion and comets. For a better understanding of the debate, see here letter 1, letter 2 and letter 3.
LETTER TO READERS - Censorship belongs to readers
I wish to thank John Tsiehta, Paul Pohsibeht and Thomas Hewhosees for the amusement.
At the heart of this debate, we have here two letters of opinion, each one residing in its own extremity. Then we have a third letter, that Solomon himself could have written, in which comments and notes are distributed almost evenly, but which obviously can’t park itself on either side. Three articles worth the debate, but three articles written by men discussing between men (of religion, of course), who refer exclusively to brothers, fathers, The Father and… Mr. the Editor, while the woman, her, has to listen or read.
This time, if you don’t mind, she will dispose of.
First, I take note of Mr. Pohsibeht’s invitation to pray for my soul, and I appreciate his sparing me of a penance (he should rest assured that, in my younger years, forced by my teachers to go to confession every week, I had had to imagine enough sins, and received so many “Marys”, that provision was made to last until the end of days).
Heresy or not, I do not see why our newspaper should have censored Mr. Tsiehta’s opinion. Must we remind everyone – and Mr. Pohsibeht in particular – that our societies have been blessed with the fundamental right to have an opinion and with the right to express that opinion? Have men and women not suffered enough already at the hands of ostracism and violence because of their opinion?
We continue to hope that these times are gone for good and will remain inert in history books.
It is not possible to say that Mr. Tsiehta’s comments on religion were dithyrambic, and we’ll never repeat often enough that the right to express one’s opinion entails responsibilities, of which assuming one’s words is not the least. For once an opinion has been thrown open in the public sphere, it implies for others a right of rebuttal. And here, the one signed by Mr. Pohsibeht is even more scathing by moments, but for that as well we haven’t felt the need to lavish on its author the care of censorship.
The reason for this is simple: Debate, disagreement and the collision of ideas are at the basis of any progress. No society wishing to comprehend the world, and its spiritual and material elements, can do without it. Every time an opinion is formed that does not admit any contradiction, freedom dies a slow death.
Thus our mission is to publish ideas, to encourage debate; our responsibility is to avoid personal attacks and defamation. As for the rest, it is the readers’ responsibility (not censorship) to separate the bad from the good, to discern fantasy from good sense.
-- The Editor, Magdalena de Nettogrof

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