British PM Cameron Disagrees With Pope Francis on Limits to Free Speech; Says Even If Jesus Is Insulted He Can't 'Wreak Vengeance Upon Them'

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron walks to Parliament after leaving Number 10 Downing Street in London September 1, 2014. Cameron will announce new laws on Monday to try to stop radicalised Britons returning from Syria and Iraq launching attacks on British soil, after a video purportedly showed a London-accented man beheading a U.S. journalist. | (Photo: Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he disagrees with Pope Francis' comments that there are limits to free speech, regarding the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks. He added that as a Christian, he would be offended if someone insults Jesus Christ, but laws in a free society protect such expression.

"If someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive, but in a free society I don't have a right to wreak my vengeance upon them," Cameron told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"We have to accept that newspapers, magazines can publish things that are offensive to some as long as it's within the law."

Last week, Pope Francis said that while he supports free speech and condemns terrorism, he does not agree with insulting other people's faith.

"There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others," Francis said, noting that there are "limits" to free speech.

As an example, the Vatican leader jokingly said that he would punch his aid, Alberto Gasparri, if he were to insult his mother.

"They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit."

The pontiff's sentiments were echoed by Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II, who in a separate statement said that insults directed at religion must be rejected "at all levels."

"I refuse any form of personal insult, and when the insult is related to religions, they cannot be approved neither at a human, nor at a moral and social level. They do not help the peace in the world, and do not produce any benefit," he said.

Francis' comments were criticized by some, however, including former CNN host Piers Morgan, who took objection as a Roman Catholic to the pope suggesting he would punch someone out of retaliation.

"Here was my Holy Father, supposedly a man who espouses the philosophy of turning the other cheek, telling us all to whack someone in the face if they insult us," Morgan wrote.

"Well, isn't that exactly what al Qaida did in Paris, metaphorically speaking?"

Morgan referred to the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo earlier in January for the drawings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, which left 12 people dead. The attack brought together millions of people across France to march together in opposition to terrorism and in defense of free speech.

The Vatican defended Francis' remarks, however, and spokesman Thomas Rosica said in a statement: "The Pope's words about Dr. Gasbarri were spoken colloquially and in (a) friendly, intimate manner among colleagues and friends. His response might be similar to something each of us has felt when those dearest to us are insulted or harmed," Rosica said.

As for the debate on whether there should be any limits to free speech, Cameron said on Sunday that his job as a politician is not to tell newspapers what they can or cannot publish.

"My job is to uphold the law that they can publish things within the law," the British PM said.

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