It doesn't give you the right to offend

Freedom of Speech does not give you the right to offend people

On January 7, 2015 a French newspaper called Charlie Hebdo was attacked by a group of Muslims extremists. The Muslims extremists claimed that they were avenging the prophet Muhammad for the insulting cartoons they had published. This event caused a major debate throughout the world on whether or not freedom of speech gives you the right to offend people. Some people say that Charlie Hebdo was stating their opinions, while others say they were violating freedom of religion. I believe that freedom of speech gives one the right to state their opinions, but not the right to speak your opinion to the point where you violate peoples religion, and this is why.

First of all, if you use your freedom of speech to offend people's religion, you are taking away their freedom of religion. By making fun of peoples religion you are taking away their right to practice their own religion without. Our founding fathers came to this country so they could practice the religion they wanted to. Also, the freedom of religion comes before freedom of speech in the First Amendment.1 That must mean something. It means that freedom of religion is just as important if not more important than freedom of speech. Why else would the founding fathers put it first?

Secondly, freedom of speech was meant to be used to speak out against the government and people who are wronging you. It wasn’t meant to be used against peoples religion and beliefs. Pope Francis said,”Freedom of religion is just as important as freedom of speech.”2 This means that you shouldn't be allowed to purposefully make fun of people and their religion. The founding fathers made the Bill of Rights to make peoples life better, not to allow people to hurt and bully other people.

Many people who don’t agree with me will say that no matter what you say you will offend someone, so if we can’t offend people, we can’t say anything at all. When I say you shouldn’t be able to offend people, I mean that you shouldn’t offend people to the point where they want to hurt or kill themselves or others. If you use my definition of offending people, then you can still say almost anything you want. Saying your shirt isn't that cute or your makeup is off today is something that you can say, even if it is rude. Also, if you offend peoples religion and they speak out against it, say sorry and listen to their concerns, this way it won’t lead to conflict. You can say pretty much anything, just not something that offends things that are sacred to people.

You should never be able to offend someone's religion. By offending peoples religion, your are taking away their freedom of religion. Also freedom of speech was meant to allow you to speak against the government. Finally, you can still say speak out, you just can’t violate people’s religion. Never make fun of what people believe and what is personal and sacred to them.


1."Bill of Rights." 2008. 16 Jan. 2015 <>

2. "Pope: There are limits to free speech - YouTube." 2015. 28 Jan. 2015 <>

Written by
Michelle J.


Social Studies:    
SS7CG1b, SS7CG2a, SS7G8c, SS7G8d

Common Core ELA: ELACC7W1a-e, ELACC7L1-6