On the Danish Cartoons  

Monday, February 06, 2006

I haven't put much up here on the cartoon situation, except, of course, the "I support Denmark" banner to the right. There's a reason for this, which I've kept more or less to myself, though I have advocated having a day where bloggers worldwide would post the cartoons in a show of solidarity for the Danes.

The right to speak freely, according to our American philosophy, is a God-given right - part of the unalienable right to liberty. Our Constitution guarantees it in the First Amendment, but that's merely a legal affirmation of its existence so that it can be enforced by law.

Therefore, the Danish cartoonist and the Danish newspaper that peacefully published the cartoon are both free to do so, period. Likewise, anyone, regardless of political or religious persuasion, has the same right to agree with it or not to agree with it, even to the point of outrage. If some muslims in Libya or Pakistan are offended, they have every right to express that outrage through peaceful means. That's also a God-given right - it's the same freedom to speak one's mind that our law recognizes as "unalienable".

The conflict here arises when governments commit acts of war, or allow those within their borders do so without consequence. Acts of war, such as severing diplomatic ties with the Danes, as Libya has done, or torching the Danish embassy, as has happened in Syria, are unacceptable. Surely more peaceful means could be used to settle the issue. It seems to me that these people are merely living up to the stereotype depicted in the Danish cartoons instead of working to stop those who have caused it to thrive.

Every major terror attack committed by these people has occurred in the name of Mohammed. Every last one. Instead of discouraging the terrorists from committing acts of terrorism, these people commit their own violent terrorist acts, thus showing themselves to be the very caricatures they complain about.

By contrast, when some asshole offends MY religion (Catholicism) by, say,

spreading porn and shit on a painting of the Blessed Mother,

fellow Catholics and I use our free speech rights to influence those who would lend that person credibility by expressing our outrage in the press, on radio, on blogs, etc. We DON'T go around destroying people's property or committing acts of war in expressing our dissatisfaction with regard to the situation.

Exactly where are the peaceful muslims in all this? Where is their outrage at the situation that has caused this stereotype to exist? Where are they in denouncing the terrorism that has brought about this shame upon their religion? If they are speaking out, they need to speak louder. Perhaps their governments need to be toppled so that their God-given right to free speech can be honored?