Who feels free to say whatever he or she likes, who can express, without precaution, provisoes or velvet gloves, whatever s/he thinks about anything or anyone ?  Apart from absolute dictators, very few – and even they automatically put themselves in harm’s way if they go too far.  Obvious limits are in the law books, but that is not what I want to share with you.  I am thinking of myself (some would say I do that all the time) and of the extraordinary freedom I have right here, on this blog – as you do, dear reader, in posting commentaries as some of you have already done – as well as the freedom I had in publishing my book, and that which I enjoy constantly in discussing and panning religion.

If I were a politician, an elected official, a member of the clergy, a public figure in Academe, show-business or in fact any business, I would have to watch my ps and qs and how I dot my tees and cross my eyes.  Opinions, and even fact-backed statements, can ruffle feathers, make waves and get you clobbered.  What I do exposes me to all that, but at least I don’t have to think twice about how my superiors or my sponsors, my constituents or my clients, my church or my club might react to what I say and write.  It’s a fabulous freedom, a luxurious liberty.  I have no restrictions on what I can say about political, moral or faith issues, no matter how controversial.  I pity people who can’t.  In my field, I feel especially sorry for priests, religious, theologians and teachers who cannot say what they really think about some of the nonsense they are expected to believe, preach and promulgate.  I have just one piece of advice for them : Carpe diem !  Seize the opportunity to question why you accept this state of affairs.  You really should go a step further and question the stuff you have not yet taken the time to see through and reject.  Surely you must wonder whether or not you want to continue to live your life in a spiritual and social straight-jacket.  By the way, if anyone wants one, my old one is available, size XXL.  It’s free, like my speech.