We’ve reached a new low here, people. Seriously, if you’ve been looking for a great example of how backwards, screwed up and deranged our country has become, this is it.
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, ISIS has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack on a Texas “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest that featured images of the Muslim prophet. The attack was carried out by Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, who drove to the building where the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s contest was being held in the Dallas suburb of Garland and opened fire. Fortunately, a Garland police officer returned fire and killed both men, preventing another Charlie Hebdo-style massacre, but not before an unarmed school district security guard was wounded. Apparently Soofi has a longstanding hatred of police (go figure) and had been studying overseas in Islamabad, Pakistan. The two men had been living in and renting the same apartment complex in Phoenix, according to reports from the New York Times, but it wasn’t clear if Simpson and Soofi were actually living together. There’s been no definitive proof yet that ISIS is actually responsible for the attack. That remains to be seen.
Anyway, there’s been lots of speculation on whether or not the anti-Muslim group was acting foolishly by even hosting this contest and if the group’s leader, Pamela Geller, should be reprimanded or condemned in some way. FOX NEWS pundit Bill O’Reilly seems to land on this side of the fence and, on Tuesday evening, had this to say:
“By setting up a contest and awarding $10,000 for a depiction of the prophet Muhammed, the American Freedom Defense Initiative spurred a violent attack. This was not smart, even though the group has its supporters. Insulting the entire Muslim world is stupid…It does not advance the cause of liberty or get us any closer to defeating the savage jihad…Do you think it’s a smart strategy to insult the Muslim countries of Jordan and Egypt by besmirching their religious icon? Do you? The group is entitled to insult Muhammad because of freedom of speech. That is true. They have a right to do that. But again, it is stupid. It accomplishes nothing.”
Good ‘ol Bill isn’t alone in his opinion. Millions of Americans took to social media in the wake of the attack to criticize the group for “provoking” radical jihadists. “They were asking for it.” seems to be the general consensus.
Yeah, ok, it’s provocative. Especially considering that, according to mainstream Islamic tradition, any depiction of Muhammad — even a respectful one — is typically considered blasphemous. Other artistic renditions of Muhammad have sparked violence around the world. So, there’s no doubt it’s provocative. It’s controversial. It’s even insulting and offensive [to Muslims.]
But, so what? Isn’t that the sort of speech that the First Amendment was designed to protect? The debate about whether or not it was stupid, ignorant or irresponsible is completely beside the point. Who cares if it was a bad idea? Who cares if it hurt someone’s feelings? The right to free speech isn’t suddenly put on hold just because someone gets offended or upset. Besides, this isn’t exactly the first time someone has insulted a religion in a “blasphemous” manner, even recently. Remember all the controversy surrounding the “Piss Christ” — that piece of so-called “art” that ticked off a lot of Catholics?
I mean, I’m certainly no Rembrandt, but I fail to see the artistic creativity or significant meaning in this sort of thing. Not to mention, it’s sort of gross and, um, unsanitary. But, that’s just my opinion. As a Christian, I have my own personal religious views on it, but that doesn’t supersede someone’s right to drop a crucifix into a vat of urine and call it art or to whip up a painting of the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung and composed of pornographic images.
Unless I missed it, I didn’t see any Catholics go on shooting sprees over this. And that’s not just because Catholics are, as a religious majority, peaceful people who believe murder is a sin. It’s also because The First Amendment protects this sort of “speech” whether you agree with the ethics or morality of the speech or not. That’s what America is all about. That’s what separates us from the barbaric countries, the oppressive regimes and the fanatical dictatorships.
We live in a county where students at Valdosta State University in Georgia trampled the American flag a few days ago and no one even questioned their legal right to do so. Sure, we can speculate and debate about the ethics of it. But, ironically, that flag is a representation of the very rights that grant them the freedom to walk all over that flag. Even more ironic, however, is that the very same news pundits and talking heads who defended those students are the same ones now condemning the AFDI for their Muhammad cartoon contest. Take, for example, this Tweet from New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi:
Do you see the hypocritical double standard here? It’s like the First Amendment only applies in situations where no one is in danger of having their head blown off. But, the minute we have a free speech issue that might spark some sort of violent backlash from an offended group, like Muslim extremists, we tuck our tails between our legs and run away like a bunch of wussified American sissies. We say that it’s “too provocative.” Of course it is! That’s the whole point of free speech! Even liberal leftwing “journalist” Jeffery Goldberg comprehends this notion:
The answer to Callimachi’s question is in the question itself and you would think that a reporter whose beat is Islamic extremism would get it. The First Amendment is worth crap if it only protects things like “Hi, there.” or “How are you today?” But, the vast majority of Americans and, especially, liberal media buffoons like CNN’s John Vause just don’t get it. After the attack, Vause said this during his live coverage:
“No one would ever dispute the right for people to have freedom of speech especially in this country. It is a Constitutional right. But, are questions being asked, in some ways, were they [the AFDI] asking for some kind of attack? Not that anyone deserved it, but was there some kind of invitation for an attack?”
Seriously, Vause? There is no “But.” You should’ve stopped with “It is a Constitutional right.” That’s it. That’s all there is. That’s the whole point. Period. End of sentence. We don’t flex the rules of free speech and the First Amendment just because some radical jihadi might go on a killing spree. Not only would this defeat the entire purpose of the First Amendment, but we’d literally be bending over backwards to appease terrorists. That’s absolute insanity. Human beings are responsible for their own behavior and that includes Muslim extremists. For crying out loud, we allow ISIS to have Twitter accounts! If that doesn’t attest to American free speech, I don’t know what does. These guys in Texas even announced their intentions via social media, with the hashtag #TexasAttack, and we allowed it! Sure, we should have been monitoring it. But, that’s the essence of free speech in this country and it’s actually pretty amazing when you stop to think about it.
You see, the liberal media and leftwing nut jobs will exert all their energy analyzing and condemning the AFDI and Pamela Geller, rather than analyzing and condemning the guys who walked into an event with a couple of assault rifles and opened fire on innocent people. In what demented, upside-down universe does that sort of logic even make sense? Sadly, this is where we are. In this universe, it's the cartoonists who are the provocateurs, not the radical Islamic extremists who enjoy beheading journalists and slaughtering innocent Americans. It’s our fault for “provoking” them. It’s our fault for “offending” them.
In this upside-down universe, people can stomp on the American flag, but they can’t draw cartoons that might offend some Muslims. Up is down, left is right and the Constitution is now debatable, open to interpretation and only applies to certain things, certain people, in certain situations at certain times.
This is really messed up, folks.
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