What Freedoms?

7 02 2006

I like Evangelical Outpost’s take on the Danish cartoons:

Excerpt: “I myself prefer another grouping of “us and them.” I do not support the cartoonists nor do I support the violent Muslim protestors. I prefer to stand with the good men who “love freedom heartily” (unlike the jihadists) and apart from those who embrace license (as the cartoonists have done).”

“The jihadists and the cartoonists, however, are not equally culpable. Drawing offensive cartoons and bombing embassies are not only not equivalent, they are not even in the same ethical realm. But while equating the two would be an embrace of moral relativism, we should not overlook the fact that both are morally tainted.”

Let us also dismiss the silly notion that this conflict is about “free speech” or “freedom of the press.” From reading the op-eds and blog posts one could get the impression that the media is willing to gore all sacred cows and that Muslims are resorting to special pleading by expecting an exemption for their beliefs. This is, of course, utter nonsense. While it may be de rigueur to insult religious sensibilities, the press has built an invisible barrier of offense which they will not cross.”

I, too, am not fully in support of the Danish cartoonists, and I am absolutely not behind the Muslims who are reacting, especially since this occurred five months ago.

There are not many newspapers that will show images of child pornography or unborn babies. And the question is not whether or not a line to cross exists. The argument between these Muslims and the Europeans is where the line is.

More: “Whereas the West was once measured by our highest ideals, we now champion the lowest common denominator. We not only treasure the “right to blaspheme” but mock and deride the very idea that anything can be considered sacred. Anything, that is, except the sacred right to say whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want in the hopes of offending as many people as possible. While this freedom must be guarded, it should be carried out with a deep reluctance and the odium of “good men.”

With great freedom, comes great responsibility. That is the way I remember being taught, but somehow this ball was fumbled. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to say/print whatever I wish.

But Muslims are offended by the cartoons because their religion (read: cult) forbids any visual depiction of the Prophet. Should the rest of us respect this taboo? Not really. I respect Islam, but not all of its taboos. I eat pork in public, but that doesn’t make me an anti-Semite. As a charasmatic Christian, I do not expect an atheist to prostrate himself before the alter.

Americans have freedom of speech. We should all be accustomed to being offended. It comes with the territory. But most radical Muslims do not enjoy the same freedom and I can understand their anger…to a point.

The Arab media run cartoons with imagery denying the Holocaust and belittling Jews and the symbols of the Jewish faith. But you do not see Jews or Israelis threaten the lives of Muslims because of it.

These cartoons have revealed an Islamic intolerance – and plenty of it. We owe all faiths respect. But respect has its limits when a religion turns violent.




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