Pope Francis has offered words of caring and understanding throughout his world tour.However in spite of his peaceful persona, he still represents an organization that has repressed and misled billions of people for almost two thousand years, maintaining backward views on social issues, most notably equal rights and contraception. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much he smiles and waves; he’s still just the head of a conglomerate that owns too much and answers to no one.
The cat is getting ready. Apostates are being called out with violence and condemnation. Even the friendly old pope has put himself on the wrong side of the fence: “If my good friend speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others.” The fact is that insulting is allowed (freedom of speech) and punching is not (violence).
The society that condones punching, suppresses any sense of freedom of speech. Punching them is the same as flogging them. Is the same as killing them. As much as one might find these Charlie Hebdos and Larry Flynts a pain, the only thing to be done is eye-rolling and making an appeal for decency. Nothing more.
All of that said, my guess is that a greater conflict is to come in countries that espouse freedom of speech where so many in power maintain the guise of faith simply to avoid a violent reaction from a certain percentage of its citizenry. As personal as the question might be – “Do you believe in God, Mr. President?” – people will keep asking and inevitably the truth will come out. And it won’t be pretty.