Bill Maher: Freedom of Speech Is His Religion

Bill Maher

Religion in terms of its connections to politics and the first amendment will always be a highly debated topic. Comedian Bill Maher though has been pushing the limits in terms of freedom of speech ever since his film on religion Religulous, which turned heads upon its release and is still considered to be hated among most Christians. This weekend, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is released to theaters, and as a result, the political comedian Maher spoke his opinion of the hypocrisy of Christianity, which was met with some heavy controversy that has him under fire once again.

Maher’s recent controversy came to light over the last couple of weeks when the political jokester believed if God existed that he would be categorized as a mass murderer of psychotic proportions. His reasoning? He believes using the power to flood the earth to eradicate all sinners as noted in the Book of Genesis backs up his argument.

Of course, many Christians were appalled at Maher’s ideology of what God is under their belief system, particularly Canadian evangelist Tristan Emmanuel who wrote a column Friday condemning Maher’s controversial words.

In his column, Emmanuel believes that Maher took his freedom of speech too far; as a result, the evangelist urged Christians to not “turn the other cheek” as it came to Bill Maher. Furthering his point, Emmanuel came to the conclusion that Maher along with other non-believers share a common ground with the devil himself by quoting the Psalms 14 passage.

This is where the Canadian was contradictory in his response to Maher. He denounced Maher for his disbelief in his religious affiliation. In the laws of America, all citizens are granted freedom to state their opinion without endangering any person or persons.

However, by urging Christians of all denominations to “turn the other cheek” it can be interpreted in several ways. Of course to “turn the other cheek” means to ignore and to not attack one who has done harm. In this scenario, Emmanuel is stating that Maher has done harm to him and other Christians. Whether he means simply to insult Maher or commit action to him is open to interpretation.

One of the most prominent ideals in Christianity is that of “turning the other cheek.” As a result of Bill Maher and his comments, despite being under the rules of freedom of speech, Emmanuel not performing this duty goes against his religion, which in turn is what makes the man a hypocrite.

Secondly, as hard as it is for Christians to take Maher’s words, he did not harm them. In fact, he didn’t endanger them even. The only thing the comedian did was state that their God wasn’t the ultimate symbol of peace as Christians believe as shown more specifically in the flood or in the recent film Noah.

Recourse is expected in this scenario. Religious debates is one of the most tense to take place throughout history. However, as controversial as what Maher said in his speech, he is being unfairly demonized, literally, when in actuality he had a disagreement in viewpoint, i.e. God’s characteristics.

Emmanuel continued in his column by stating that centuries ago, Maher would have received stiff penalties for his slanderous remarks.

This of course brings up another level of hypocrisy. There are no punishments for freedom of speech, yet the evangelist believes Maher should be punished for his words.

Additionally, Maher wasn’t being slanderous. According to the definition, slander is statement that is false in nature and defames the target in a lie. In this situation, the target is God. In actuality no one can prove or deny His existence. As a result, what Maher said did not hurt Emmanuel or any other Christian directly; he merely disagreed with a concept as illustrated in the Bible. Lastly, in terms of proving Maher of stating falsehood, it cannot be proven. The only way to do so is if Emmanuel would be able to physically prove God’s existence, which in turn is an impossibility.

In this religious debate, both parties have equal rights. Maher has every right to state his opinion of God not existing or being an evil spirit. On the other hand, Emmanuel has every right to denounce Maher for his proposed beliefs. What Emmanuel wants but can’t do is for Maher to be punished whether people agree or disagree with him.

He may be one of the more controversial comedians today, but the controversy surrounding his statements is just that, controversial. Bill Maher is like any other US citizen and has the freedom to say whatever he wants in his speech — even when it comes to that of religion. It may upset the supposed 80% of the nation that is Christian, but at the end of the day his opinion won’t affect anyone directly. At the same time, Tristan Emmanuel is going to believe what he believes, and no one, not even a publicized figure such as Maher will be able to change that.

Opinion by Simon Mounsey


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14 Responses to "Bill Maher: Freedom of Speech Is His Religion"

  1. Willie Snow   March 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Sorry to hear that you are so caught up in what others believe. i think you should ask the true God to reveal himself to you personally. the catch is you must have a receptive heart and willing to acknowledge him as the true God. I believe Jesus would do that as He done for the other’s whom asked with sincerity from other religions and they converted and put their faith in Him. I really hope you find the truth. I don’t want to sound as if i’m judging you but you seem to want to follow the real deal but unsure whom He is. Thank you for corresponding with me and may you find the truth that desires to be known intimately by you. God bless by the Savior of the world Jesus.

  2. Nigel!   March 30, 2014 at 7:08 am

    I have this debate everyday. So many evil things in this world today and god fearing people are silent. Christians get killed in Africa or in the middle east there is a big uprorar but non Christians die in conflicts every day. What makes their lives less valuable, because evangelical s like Emanuel say so. We are all gods children. All! Gay, straight, Hindus,Muslims, non believers. Etc. No man has or no grouping has a monopoly on gods love or his wrath. Peace!

  3. Mark Eddy   March 30, 2014 at 12:00 am

    No doubt Mr. Emmanuel is afraid that Mr. Maher’s opinion will have a detrimental effect on his weekly ‘jesus’ sales revenue.

    The christian church is business. That’s all. Moreover, it’s a fraudulent business, as it charges customers for a product that is not real.

  4. Willie Snow   March 29, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Why Emmanuel do you become this upset with someone who spends a lot of his time bashing a God he doesn’t believe in. I prayed for this Bill Maher and would love for God to come into Bills life in such away that he publicly renounce all he ever said against God. It is God’s choice and if God chooses not to then you Emmanuel know that one day Bill will have to stand before the Most High God, and believe me Bill will not be so outspoken before the Just Judge Jesus. The word of God say’s that those who say there is no God are fools. The word of God also say’s every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord. Bill will say Jesus is Lord; if he likes it or not

    • Aldris Torvalds   March 29, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      How is one a “Just Judge” if they condemn people to eternal torment in a pit of fire just for being raised to believe differently? How “just” is it for the billion living Hindus to suffer such a fate? They have no reason whatsoever to think that Christianity, one among thousands of historical religions, is true and that their own religion and gods are false. I swear people don’t think about it. If you really believe this, then God is a monster and you’re complicit in his crimes, much like looking the other way as Hitler rounded up the Jews…

      • Willie Snow   March 30, 2014 at 7:44 pm

        “being raised”, we all have a mind of our own and are responsible for making the decisions we must account for. there are plenty of Hindu, Buddhist, Muslims etc, that converted to follow the one and only true living God. you could find multiple testimonies about their conversion. many were raised to believe racism was normal, however with a deep feeling of a persons worth transcends all the common beliefs that were deemed. please understand that god has his own method of judgement that would prevail to be just. if one of those religious people are unaware of the Gift of God, in His son Jesus then there judgement would be just according to their livelihood, however if one such as Bill Maher who knows of Jesus and prioritize slandering Jesus then best believe the just judge verdict would be appropriate.
        it’s sad when people confuse the love of Christ with Hitler.

        • Aldris Torvalds   March 30, 2014 at 8:40 pm

          Perhaps you didn’t read closely enough. You haven’t answered the critical question.

          • Willie Snow   March 31, 2014 at 5:37 am

            how did i not answer your question? The question is how could God be a just judge., am i correct? if not i apologize. I gave a prime example of how He would be just in His judgement. I’m not trying to argue with you, i only hope you could see that i am trying to express that we will be judged by God and He is just, there is no wrong in the Good God.
            I experienced by revelation God throwing me to hell. i wish i could explain further, however that would be impossible at this time. I’m serious and not coo coo. God will hold us responsible for our way of life and all will be judged by their doing or lack of doing here on earth.

            I only pray that you A.T. find the truth in Christ Jesus and His perfect love.

          • Aldris Torvalds   March 31, 2014 at 7:06 am

            Here I’ll quote the relevant section: “They [Hindus] have no reason whatsoever to think that Christianity, one among thousands of historical religions, is true and that their own religion and gods are false.” There are 21 major world religions, a ton of minor ones, and really thousands of them (and thousands of gods) historically. You are biased toward the one you were taught to believe in, and don’t understand that it’s like that for every religion… they all think they are right, and the others wrong. Try and get an eagle-eye view of the entire world and vast tapestry of human religious endeavors, and this confusion dissolves. The Hindus think your religion is wrong, and are hoping you come to know Brahma! Think about it.

          • Willie Snow   March 31, 2014 at 4:47 pm

            Opps, my reply was directed to the top of the list. my bad, Sorry.

          • Aldris Torvalds   March 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm

            That’s okay, but my concern/question still stands. Anything you could point to and say it’s an experience of “God” could be taken to be an experience of “Brahma” or some other god, or even an experience of oneness with the universe (for say Taoists and Buddhists). No religion can prove itself to be true, and people raised to believe in the Hindu gods have no reason whatsoever to think Christianity is true. If there is a “benevolent” and “just” God, and “Hell” really exists, then “belief” in Jesus/God/whatever can’t be the requirement for judgment. Do you not agree? Even we humans can see how monstrous that system would be, if we actually open up our eyes and admit its flaws.

          • Willie Snow   April 1, 2014 at 7:23 am

            i hear what your saying and as a worldly view your correct. however Jesus wants to prove to you that He is the true living God. I know this because I had an outer body experience that Jesus is Lord. if you read His word and ask Jesus to prove himself to you HE would. But Jesus knows your heart and if your asking in haste HE will not, we must seek God with a humble heart and in humility. God is God who are we that we should demand from HIM. I sense your eager to believe and if you would pick up a new testament bible or one with the new testament and read the gospel of Jesus with a desire to really want a relationship with the Almighty God, I guarantee Jesus will meet with you and believe me it’s a wonderful feeling and a whole new life with a much more sense of worth.
            Why would most Christians, ( i do say most) evangelize, it’s a truth that can not be denied.
            I never herd of Hindus evangelizing their God nor most other religions.
            Please give Jesus a fair chance. i know HE has a plan for your life that only you can do and accomplish through HIM.
            I’m not saying this for my benefit, i don’t want anything from you. I would just like you to receive the grace that Jesus has so kindly bestowed upon my life. I do not deserve HIS love. But Jesus gives it abundantly anyway.
            Please give Jesus a chance, HE’s waiting for you.

          • Aldris Torvalds   April 1, 2014 at 7:52 am

            I hope for your sake that some day you wake up. It takes a combination of personal delusion and ignoring the experiences of others (including Christians that no longer believe) to say the things you’ve said. I’ll be “hoping” for you.

          • Aldris Torvalds   April 1, 2014 at 8:01 am

            And study other religions. You’re living in a bubble, in Never-Never Land where all you hear is that your religion is true, and you still have failed to see that if you had been raised Hindu, that’s what you’d be telling others is the truth. “Truth” isn’t something you have.

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