The film mocking Mohammed which sparked violent reactions in various parts of the world has been slammed by a cathedral chief in England.
Lincoln Minster chancellor Mark Hocknull says the Innocence of Muslims “breaks the rules of discourse” and does not qualify “as a legitimate expression under the rules of free speech”.
He makes the declaration in a minster chapter letter distributed this Sunday to members of the cathedral congregation.
Canon Hocknull says the film also breaks Jesus’ “golden rule to do unto others as they would have them do unto you”.
The 49-year-old cleric, in a think piece about recent calls for an international blasphemy law also voices opposition to such a move.
He argues: “God is perfectly capable of protecting himself should he feels the need and needs no human protection.”
Canon Hocknull goes on: “There is such a thing as the right to freedom of speech. In the west we rightly value our freedom from oppression and state control in the thoughts we express.”
But this freedom is: “Not absolute” he says. “With freedom comes always responsibility. Speech is a social phenomenon. It does not exist without a social context – and that means that freedom of speech is hedged about with rules.”
Canon Hocknull says: “Speech is limited by basic rules of civility. Without these there is no speech there is only noise.
“Amongst other things, being free to express our views carries with it the responsibility – I might almost say the duty and obligation – to listen to others as well.”
He adds: “The basic rule of freedom of speech, it seems to me, is criticise and mock ideas and systems by all means, but always recognise the humanity of other human beings and don’t treat them in ways we ourselves are not willing to accept in return.”