In a CNN opinion piece titled “Free Speech Comes With Responsibilities,” Sally Kohn expressed her “unequivocal support [of] the right to free speech” but said responsibility and being respectful about it goes hand in hand.
“That’s why I would not have published cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed, insulting 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide in the process,” stated Kohn, in response to the recent Charlie Hebdo incident.
Neither would she be in favor of publishing anything offensive to Judaism or Christianity. “I want people of faith to hear me,” Kohn pleads. “I don’t casually condemn or denigrate people’s religions,” she added.
Early in her piece, Kohn makes this assessment: Islam is not “uniquely violent and intolerant.” (Disclaimer included: “I don’t profess to be a scholar of Islam.”) Then she expands on her assessment, stating how “plentiful” violence and intolerance is expressed in the histories and texts of Judaism and Christianity.
“All religions face the struggle of progressing from rigid tradition to evolving modernity,” stated Kohn. She then made this commitment: “And so I want my voice to be clear and constructive in supporting that progress.”
Her self-described knowledge and righteous intentions established, Kohn then explained just how she aims to use her right to free speech in helping the religions of the world finally reach their ultimate purpose:
I want to help Islam and Christianity and Judaism and society in general become more open and inclusive and democratic and liberated. Free speech is fundamentally essential to that project. So is respect.