Hi Wayne -
My apologies for not responding sooner - I just saw your reply today.
Where did I imply that I believe in an absolute right or wrong? Other than the obvious wrongs such as murder, or the obvious rights such as charity, I would strongly disagree with such a statement.
I did state that while cultures and religions may vary wildly, people across the face of the planet are much the same, with the same wants and needs.
It's not against the law in America to call a Black man a racial epithet, so when that happens, is the offense felt by the Black man only a choice? Yes, one could make an argument that there would be a lot less racial resentments by the Black community if they *chose* to not take offense, but you and I both know that not only would they never make that choice, but also that it is *right* for them to take offense at being ridiculed for the color of their skin.
So would a Black Frenchman take any less offense at being ridiculed for the color of his skin than a Black American would? I don't think so.
My point is that for those who take their religion seriously - regardless of which religion that may be - their religion is *more* important than the color of their skin. If someone is to take offense at ridicule of their skin color (even though such ridicule breaks no laws in America or in France), how then are we to expect that those who hold their religion as much more important than their race to not feel offense when that religion is ridiculed?
Please note that I never said that such ridicule *should* be outlawed, but that the one who committed the offense be willing to accept the risks of having deeply offended the religion that is so central to the identity of the believers?
Lastly, please note that I do understand your "when in Rome" approach, for it's served me well in my own travels e.g. don't insult Thai royalty, don't antagonize a Samoan, don't challenge an Aussie to a drinking contest, don't cross your legs and inadvertently show an Emirati the sole of your shoe, etc. But those are all *cultural* mores, and - because religion is usually more important than race - the offense felt at the insult of one's religion is less of a cultural thing than a *human* thing.