Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Blasphemy in Denmark -- and here

Last September, some cartoons about Islam published in a Danish newspaper caused serious offense to Muslims. (To see the cartoons, go here and scroll about halfway down.) A few days ago the paper apologized, but apparently not enough -- the apology was for offending the feelings of Muslims but not for actually publishing the cartoons -- leading to more protests and boycotts, as well as threats of violence.

The media in Muslim countries have weighed in. According to the Christian Science Monitor:

The Arab News of Saudi Arabia calls upon Denmark to legally ban religious hate speech.

Meanwhile, some European newspapers have reprinted the cartoons as a way of striking a blow for freedom of expression.

Under the headline "Yes, we have the right to caricature God", France Soir ran a front page cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud.

It shows the Christian deity saying: "Don't complain, Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here."

The full set of Danish drawings, some of which depict the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, were printed on the inside pages.

The paper said it had decided to republish them "because no religious dogma can impose itself on a democratic and secular society."

Or can it? Unfortunately, France Soir's demonstration of the value of free speech ended in a fiasco: the paper published an apology and sacked its managing editor.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Christian paper Magazinet, which also published the cartoons, then took them off its website because of threats. According to The Brussels Journal:

Magazinet also interviewed two leading Norwegian cartoonists: Finn Graff and Morten M. Kristiansen. Graff, who was known in the 1960s and ’70s for his satirical drawings of Jesus Christ, said that he does not draw pictures mocking Muhammad. He does so out of fear for Muslims, and also “out of respect.” Muslims, he said, are very sensitive about their religion and their prophet, which is something one has to take into account and one has to respect. Kristiansen said he had received many protest letters in the past whenever he mocked Christ. The same applies to cartoons about Muhammad, but lately the protest letters from Muslims had increasingly become threats, including death threats in e-mails from places such as Iran. Unlike Graff, Kristiansen said he will not change his behaviour because of these threats because it is important to defend the right to freedom of expression.

All this prompts Pieter Dorsmann to compare this to the "Piss Christ" controversy and Glenn Reynolds to comment:

The lesson is that if you want your religion not to be mocked, it helps to have a reputation for senseless violence. Is this the incentive structure we want?

That observation is, of course, quite correct. Christians who protest blasphemy generally do not threaten a violent response (though there were some bomb threats in response to a planned production of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi a few years ago). But I would note that the "blasphemy as hate speech" meme is shared by quite a few conservative Christians as well; and, in some cases, this translates into sympathy for even violent Muslim backlash against perceived anti-Muslim blasphemy. Here, for instance, a Christian blogger condemns the cartoons about Islam on the grounds of disrespect:

The cartoons are clearly offensive attacks on the faith of all Muslims and it is not surprising that people are upset (if similar cartoons were drawn about Christians there would be considerable protest and outrage). Thus, it was sad to learn that one of the newspapers that published the cartoons was an evangelical Christian paper in Norway. The editor said he had received death threats and hate letters.

What did he expect? He published hate cartoons and thus should not be surprised to receive hate mail. How does this guy think he can reach out to the Muslims in Norway with the Gospel if he so grossly mocks their faith? Why must Christian newspapers publish tabloid trash? It is time for Norway's Christians to demand the editor leave or to cancel their subscriptions.

And Pat Buchanan recently had this to offer:


When Bush speaks of freedom as God's gift to humanity, does he mean the First Amendment freedom of Larry Flynt to produce pornography and of Salman Rushdie to publish The Satanic Verses, a book considered blasphemous to the Islamic faith? If the Islamic world rejects this notion of freedom, why is it our duty to change their thinking? Why are they wrong?

The "hate speech," "bigotry," and "Christian-bashing" label was slapped on the NBC show "The Book of Daniel" (canceled due to protests and boycotts), which featured an Episcopal priest with a dysfunctional family and a Jesus who urged him to be tolerant of human frailties.

I agree that cheap religion-baiting, and particularly Christian-baiting, has long been in vogue among the liberal intelligentsia, and that it can be very juvenile and tiresome. But there is something dangerous, in my view, about the idea that certain beliefs are beyond criticism, even disrespectful criticism (or irreverent reinterpretation).

Once, in illiberal and authoritarian times, blasphemy was outlawed as an offense to God and the authority of churches. Now, we are hearing calls to outlaw blasphemy as an offense to human sensibilities based on group identity.

In attacking "The Book of Daniel," Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition urged the entertainment industry to treat Christians with the same respect it treats Muslims and Jews. I don't know about Jews; but if the Danish cartoons saga is an example, the way Western societies today treat speech deemed offensive to Muslims is precisely the wrong way to approach speech about religion.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...if similar cartoons were drawn about Christians there would be considerable protest and outrage"

Don't these guys ever watch South Park? Where God is a giant rat, and Jesus has a call-in show on local cable?

Rottin' in Denmark said...

As much as I want to defend Denmark for exercising its right of free speech, let's face it: The cartoons are offensive. They reflect a typically Danish (and increasingly Europe-wide) attitude that Islam is a fundamentally violent faith, and do so in a very simplistic, childish way.

Did the paper have the right to print them? Absolutely. Should the government crack down on such expression? Absolutely not.

But the cartoons are, IMO, tasteless, and it was tactless to print them, especially at a time when there's so much tension between Danes and the Muslim community here. It seems like the paper commissioned these cartoons specifically to incite outrage in the Muslim community just so it could say "See? We told you these people were uncivilized."

Instead of this religion-bating, why not print a feature following a Muslim family and allow readers to actually know them? The problem here is that Danes are completely cut off from Muslims. All they know is nonsense like this in newspapers, and occasional flare-ups about honor killings, terrorism, and other hard-news perspectives on the (very small, actually) Muslim community in Denmark.

As much as we say that Muslim countries need to grow up and accept free speech, Danes need to grow up and accept that Muslims are a part of their society now, and that casting their religion as fundamentally violent serves no purpose whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

They reflect a typically Danish (and increasingly Europe-wide) attitude that Islam is a fundamentally violent faith

A point which has been thoroughly substantiated by the Muslim reaction to the cartoons ...

it was tactless to print them, especially at a time when there's so much tension between Danes and the Muslim community here

What's so "tactless" about them? Why should we all have to walk on eggshells to avoid offending Muslims? Have you stopped to think that it just might be Muslim misbehavior itself which has created the "tension" of which you speak?

Danes need to grow up and accept that Muslims are a part of their society now, and that casting their religion as fundamentally violent serves no purpose whatsoever.

No, you need to grow up and understand that whether or not you're part of a society has no bearing on whether you get to have your brand of superstition treated with special deference.

AprilPNW said...

Sigh. Why is it that these religious folks (of all stripes) never seem to grasp the fact that THEY are offensive at times? And that we've (mostly) learn to live with it? I'm offended on a daily basis by one thing or another-BFD. It's the price you pay living outside of a hermetically-sealed bubble.

Joan said...

NBC show "The Book of Daniel" (canceled due to protests and boycotts)

Hmmm. I never watched it, but I assumed that the show was cancelled for the usual reasons: it was bad, and it had poor ratings. If the show had done well in the ratings, I'm sure it would still be on.

I saw the original set of cartoons and they didn't approach the offensive level, say, of "Piss Christ." It's important to remember that the original set of 12 images was later supplemented to include purposefully inciteful cartoons, including a pig-snouted Mohammed, because the original group wasn't inflammatory enough.

Wretchard writes today about the JCS response to a despicable Tole cartoon in the Washington Post -- a fine example of how offensive material should be responded to and discussed.

If Muslims wish to be taken seriously, they need to stop issuing fatwas everytime someone says or does something they don't like. By seeking to control every person's every expression, they reveal their true intentions.

Lori Heine said...

I don't recall any Christian group ever having threatened to murder people because South Park portrayed God as a giant rat or Jesus as the host of a call-in show. If Christians offend people, then oh, Lord! The world is about to end. But if Muslims do the same thing (I'm of primarily Scandinavian descent, and believe me, I am offended that a bunch of murderous thugs have taken over the land of my ancestry), then we're all supposed to tough it and lump it.

Christians are offended on a daily basis, and with impunity. The Book of Daniel had an excellent opportunity to portray the problems of a clergyman's family realistically and sympathetically. Instead, it gave in to the impulse to pull the whiskers of conservative Christians. The show was so hell-bent on offending people, it crammed even a two-hour pilot so full of it that from the get-go, the storyline was almost impossible to follow. And now, of course, Hollywood will blame its cancellation on all those bigoted, hateful Christians (who, evidently, had an obligation to watch it).

Every once in a while, somebody will threaten people who say things they don't like. Because I write for gay Christians, and a lot of people don't like us, I have been the target of such threats, myself. But I fail to see how condoning Muslim violence -- or by succumbing to their threats -- is going to help religious speech become any less violent.

When somebody threatens violence, the thing to do is point and laugh. Most of those who resort to such tactics are cowards, and a threat is as far as they will go. I'm interested to see how far the Danes and Norwegians will let themselves be pushed before they start booting some backsides out of their countries.

Firing editors and apologizing for cartoons is absolutely the wrong route to go. If the thugs' demands are given in to, it only emboldens them.

Revenant said...

Hmmm. I never watched it, but I assumed that the show was cancelled for the usual reasons: it was bad, and it had poor ratings.

I think you're right on that one. The protests just gave the network a face-saving way to ditch a poorly-performing series. "The Book of Daniel" got good ratings for its premiere (thanks to all the controversy surrounding it), but lost almost half its audience in the following weeks.

Synova said...

South Park is so offensive in general that I think the depictions of God and Jesus don't even register. Granted, all my South Park is gotten second hand, but in the recitation of jokes and gags I'd never even heard about the rat and call-in host. Besides, and now that I think of it I think it's likely an important point... *everyone* disapproves of South Park. It's not the same thing as being told that it's "art" if only you weren't a Bible thumping hick who can't tell the difference.

As for Denmark... I have to remain neutral, I think. I can't bring myself to jump on the "support Denmark" bandwagon and I certainly can't support the Muslim community in it's violence. About the only option left is to sit back and watch the train wreck in slow-mo.

Why not support the Danes? Guilt by association I suppose, and stories about Muslims in Europe who either have to give up the trappings of their faith or be unemployed. Everyone is completely ready to accept them into society, just so long as they conform to it. Well that's not working. The Muslim community is turning in on itself instead and intensifying its worst tendancies.

It seems quite logical when someone understands what it means to believe in God.

What I get out of it is a renewed feeling that when it comes to knowing how to deal with the middle east that I'll go with the US red-neck bible-thumping sorts rather than the hyper tolerant and determinedly liberal Europeans, because at least True Believers understand the mindset.

thecobrasnose said...

While I don't agree with Buchanan or the Christian blogger, their positions at least have internal consistency: don't mock what others hold sacred. Not bad advice for getting along in society, though it should certainly not acquire the force of law. But this practice of whacking Christians while “respecting” Muslims is a cowardly dodge. Who honestly believes Graff sincerely respects Muslim sensibilities rather than their threats? Show of hands?

And if you’re going to make an entertainment of ridiculing the religious, best do it in an interesting and engaging way. South Park is a success not just because it is irreverent, but because it is hilarious and uniquely principled in its mockery. That’s no mean feat.

Cathy Young said...

cobra--good point. Actually, if Graff is sincerely concerned about Muslim (but not Christian) sensibilities, that's pretty bad too -- talk about double standards.

Anonymous said...

Buchanan could win a lot more respect on this issue if he wasn't known for Jew-baiting.

LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

Pat Buchanan says: If the Islamic world rejects this notion of freedom, why is it our duty to change their thinking? Why are they wrong? And to think this guy campaigned to be President of the United States!

Rottin' in Denmark said...

(I'm of primarily Scandinavian descent, and believe me, I am offended that a bunch of murderous thugs have taken over the land of my ancestry)

This, by the way, is exactly the attitude i'm talking about. Murderous thugs? Taking over? There are 150,000 Muslims in Denmark, a country of 6 million people. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't take over.
Yes, Muslims are completely overreacting to this, and I'm not defending them in any way. I'm just saying that Denmark has to own up to its Islam-baiting and racism.

Anonymous said...

If these cartoons have already been printed once, are further publications a "sign of solidarity" (hardly, if you're going to apologize and retract later) or merely a nyah-nyah, nyah-nyah way of further inflaming even non-violent, unextremist Muslims?

Just because something is legal (publishing the cartoons) doesn't mean it has to be done. Tensions are high now, across the globe, especially in the Middle East. There is an ongoing way, that shows signs of escalating. Why further inflame?? Because we can?

I hope we don't have to look back some time soon, and see that this, like Sharon's visiting the Temple Mount and declaring that Jerusalem will always be ours, as an unwise, though legal, move.

Anonymous said...

"No, you need to grow up and understand that whether or not you're part of a society has no bearing on whether you get to have your brand of superstition treated with special deference."

But after the Holocaust, with good organizations such as Bnai Brith, we are on guard for anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic talk or communication. Surely no one here is arguing that there is free speech to cricize Israel or the Jewish faith, without repercussions or criticism. It may be legal, but it is unwise.

The death threat speech in response to these cartoons is wrong, and clearly should be prosecuted if it is acted upon, but the impulse to take offense at the attacking of one's religion is universal and hardly a Muslim problem.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister!

--bk

henderstock said...

The call from a Saudi paper that Denmark should "outlaw religious hatred" is so ridiculous that it deserves no comment.

henderstock said...

The idea that a Saudi paper, of all things, would call for Denmark to "outlaw religious hatred" is so laughable as to be unworthy of comment.

Gaius Arbo said...

Frankly, the timing of this and the way it has suddenly erupted again stinks. Just when Iran is getting its weapos program going again and Hamas wins elections, all of a sudden this is big news.

Anyone else see a problem here?

Any Western government that caves in to this pressure might as well admit they have no ability to stand up to the Islamist threat.

Gaius

luagha said...

It is one thing to take offense, and make a public rebuttal. The public rebuttal can be of many kinds: an insult, a satire, a mockery-in-turn, a denigration, or an aloof taking of the high road. All can be devastatingly effective in the marketplace of ideas.

It is another thing entirely to threaten unlawful violence. It is another thing entirely to follow through. All such actions cease to be actions of freedom and become acts of war.

luagha said...

And in referring to a 'time of tension'...

There is no such thing as a 'cooling off period' for free speech, or a time when 'tensions are too high.' If that was a valid reason to curtail free speech, then all one has to do is maintain that time of tension forever.

Synova said...

I've gotten in the occasional internet kerfufle concerning censorship. It does seem as though some people equate personal restraint with the evil of censorship... not that government prohibition of speech is evil but that any prohibition, even the kind you make on yourself, is evil.

When did self-censorship stop being simple good manners? Or prudence? Or respecting others?

As for passing a law outlawing offensive language... Europe (in general) outlaws other sorts of speech, Germany outlaws political parties, France outlaws scarves, why shouldn't people who live there (or other places without a strong tradition of free speech) feel like they can and ought to demand that blasphemy be illegal?

What it amounts to is that tolerance exists towards the things that have public approval, but not for things that don't.

People get arrested in Europe for making statements that would simply get them labled a fruitcake in America. They *do* arrest people for speech over there... just make the public assertion that the holocost never happened.

Monica In Austin said...

I feel sorry for the moderate Muslims who are offended by the cartoons, but Islam and terrorism are connected to each other because men and women are killing themselves and other civilians in terroristic acts in the name of Islam. Those are the facts.

I'm hoping that moderate muslims will hurry up, get past being offended and start to question why their Prophet was drawn with a bomb on his head. This idea didn't come from just anywhere - it's a comment about what is happening in the world today.

Revenant said...

Surely no one here is arguing that there is free speech to cricize Israel or the Jewish faith, without repercussions or criticism. It may be legal, but it is unwise.

That's moving the goalposts, I think. We're talking about a lot more than mere "criticism" of people who offend Muslims.

Sure, if you say nasty things about Jews or Israel you'll be criticized for it. But won't be fired, jailed, threated with death, or murdered.

Rottin' in Denmark said...

There is no such thing as a 'cooling off period' for free speech, or a time when 'tensions are too high.' If that was a valid reason to curtail free speech, then all one has to do is maintain that time of tension forever.

I completely agree. Which is why I don't think there should be an attempt to curtail this kind of free speech. I'm just saying that this particular free expression was tactless and even further eroded the understanding between Danes and Muslims that needs to happen right now. I'm criticizing the paper, not the Danish government. There was simply no compelling reason for these cartoons to run. The paper 'commissioned' them for no reason other than to piss off the Muslims living in Denmark.

The 'Muslim issue' is on a lot of people's minds here in Denmark right now, and the paper could have explored the issue of Islam in a million other ways, none of them requiring depicting the religion's central figure with a bomb in his head.

Remember when Ted Rall did that cartoon in which he called Pat Tillman an idiot for volunteering for the Iraq war? I thought that was incredibly tasteless. If people want to boycott the papers that ran the cartoon or protest outside of Rall's offices, that's their right of free expression. Death threats or calls to the US government to censor him are totally inappropriate, but it was fundamentally tactless of him to run that cartoon right after Tillman's death, even though he had the legal right to do so. I think that's a decent parallel to this.

I think Muslims have the right to boycott Danish bacon over this. And hold (peaceful) protests outside of Danish embassies. If we're so proud of free expression, what's wrong with Muslims expressing themselves?

Anonymous said...

Well, sure, the cure for problems caused by free speech is more free speech. I don't think people are complaining that Muslims have no right to express their outrage. I think the concern is about actual violence that has already occurred (vandalizing embassies etc) and the violent threats.

Violent threats are not a form of protected free speech. Sorry folks.

And I understand the point people are making about self-censorship and the unwise tactlessness of antagonzing muslims. Here's the thing. (I forget who said this first but anyway) It's one thing to have a right to do something. It's another thing entirely to be right to do something.

And that encompasses the conundrum in the conflict between free speech and religious rights.

It's a shame how many in Europe have chosen to cave in, choosing appeasement and decorum over exposing genuine conflict. When powers conspire to promote decorum and appeasment over the exploration of genuine conflict, agents of provocation become necessary to expose festering boils to sunight and fresh air. I'm not interested in pretending that there are no conflicts between the cultural values of modern western democracy and sh'aria.


I'm glad that the danish government has very appropriately announced that they can't condemn or intervene here. The Danes understand the role of the government here, and how free speech works. Good for them.

--bk

Anonymous said...

South Park is so offensive in general that I think the depictions of God and Jesus don't even register. Granted, all my South Park is gotten second hand, but in the recitation of jokes and gags I'd never even heard about the rat and call-in host. Besides, and now that I think of it I think it's likely an important point... *everyone* disapproves of South Park.

ROTFLMAO! Yeah everyone who has never watched it disapproves of it. The funniest part is that you probably wrote that without even an inking as to the irony...

--bk

Lori Heine said...

"Denmark has to own up to its Islam-baiting and racism."

Rottin, Denmark spends half its time -- as do most of the Northern European countries -- bending over backwards and abjectly apologizing for every little slight, no matter how nuttily perceived. DENMARK has to own up for ITS insensitivity?

Not that I agree it is insensitivity, but how many times have these same cartoons been seen in America since this whole mess began? You can hardly hit on a blog, particularly one that's Right of center, without seeing old Mohammed with the bomb in his turban and all those disappointed martyrs being told there are no more virgins. Puh-leeze!

I suppose we Americans should all bow and scrape and apologize our guts out, too. Well, I do not intend to. Those cartoons were mildly distasteful, and not particularly funny. But for crying out loud, they were just CARTOONS!

It is highly probable that only a certain, very extreme segment of the Muslim population was being lampooned. Not that this necessarily makes it okay, but just as many people (including a lot in this country) are too ignorant to understand that there are many different sorts of Christians, all of whom enjoy making fun of each other even though they get their undies in a wad when others do it, the Muslims are a diverse group. They've been trying to tell us that, themselves, for years now.

And as for "peaceful" protests outside of the Danish embassy, if that were all these angry folks were doing, it would scarcely be the huge story it has become.

For all of our bending over backwards, for all of our abject apologies, and for all of our firing people to censor their ideas, notice that -- if what's going on in Denmark is any indication -- all we get is more thuggery and more threats. Appeasement never has worked and never will.

John Howard said...

Now, we are hearing calls to outlaw blasphemy...

FYI

Synova said...

bk...

I absolutely understood what I wrote about South Park. People who like it, who watch it, do *not* pretend that it is not offensive. They know it is offensive. That's half the appeal. Along with the cleverness there is a frisson of naughtiness that makes it that much more fun.

Contrast this to "art" that is offensive to one religion or another. There's an element of self-delusion that isn't and can't be said of the creators of South Park among those elite sorts who denegrate the unwashed masses rather than see this as evidence of their own inability to understand the larger human experience. This goes so far that anything that speaks to the masses can't even *be* true art.

Everyone *knows* South Park is offensive. Everyone *knows* that Team America was very very naughty. In contrast, the swedish artist (from the news some time ago) finding herself the recipient of unexpected anger seemed a pitiful thing, a fawn binking in the oncomming headlights, wondering why her juxtaposition of verses from the Koran and sexual terms wasn't taken for the clever artistic symbolism that it was.

The bending over backwards and the appeasment seems coupled with overall cluelessness.

No, appeasment is never going to work, but neither is misidentifying appeasment as cultural or religious sensitivity. They aren't the same thing. The one is bending to demands and then wondering why they don't love you. The other is actually respecting other people.

I don't invite a vegetarian to my house and then insist on serving meat. This is not appeasment on my part to avoid a lecture on animal rights. It's respect for the other person's convictions.

Revenant said...

I don't invite a vegetarian to my house and then insist on serving meat. This is not appeasment on my part to avoid a lecture on animal rights. It's respect for the other person's convictions.

That's not the right metaphor, though. Danish Muslims are residents of Denmark, not honored guests of the Danes. They're not entitled to any special treatment.

If you invite a vegatarian to live in your house politeness does require that you not serve meat. It does not require that you avoid serving meat in order to spare the sensibilities of vegetarians who simply happen to share a living space with you. After all, if they don't like living with you, they can move someplace else.

William R. Barker said...

Cathy notes...

Christians who protest blasphemy generally do not threaten a violent response...

================================

True. At least from my experience. Are Muslims different? Do Muslims - as a group - tend to threaten a violent response to blasphemy? (I'm not really understanding the comparison being made here - if there is a comparision. Are we comparing/contrasting here?)

================================

Cathy continued...

I would note that the "blasphemy as hate speech" meme is shared by quite a few conservative Christians as well;

================================

Hmm... maybe so... but speaking for me, myself, and I, this Christian tends to make case by case judgements. (*SMILE*) (Again... is there some sort of "comparison" being offered here that I'm just not picking up on?)

================================

Cathy continued...

...and, in some cases, this translates into sympathy for even violent Muslim backlash against perceived anti-Muslim blasphemy.

================================

Hmm! You don't say?. You're certainly not describing any of my Christian friends.

==================================

Cathy mentions...

"...hate cartoons..."

=================================

Like porn, I suppose one "knows" a hate cartoon when one sees one. (How about that Washington Post cartoon with the severely wounded soldier and "Dr" Rumsfeld? Would that qualify?) In any case... what - if anything - are you proposing?

================================

Cathy continued...

Why must Christian newspapers publish tabloid trash?

================================

Christian "newspapers?" Plural? I thought it was just one newspaper?

To answer your question... I'd guess bad judgement - a characteristic not unknown to occur in ALL types of newspapers, not just "Christian" newspapers.

=================================

Cathy continued...

The "hate speech," "bigotry," and "Christian-bashing" label was slapped on the NBC show "The Book of Daniel" (canceled due to protests and boycotts), which featured an Episcopal priest with a dysfunctional family and a Jesus who urged him to be tolerant of human frailties.

===============================

Oh, yes, Cath... that's it... Christian fundamentalists control the American airwaves! (*SMIRK*)

I don't know anything about "The Book of Daniel" other than what I saw of the preview commercials run by the network itself. To me... the show just looked stupid and I never watched it. That said, I'd bet that low ratings and other economic factors had far more to do with the show's almost immediate cancelation than anything else.

Did you watch any episodes of the show, Cath? If so, was there anything about the portrayal of "Christianity" or Jesus that a reasonable person might find objectionable? Just curious.

=================================

Cathy continued...

I agree that cheap religion-baiting, and particularly Christian-baiting, has long been in vogue among the liberal intelligentsia, and that it can be very juvenile and tiresome. But...

================================

Ahh, Cath... why couldn't you just stop at "tiresome?" (*SMILE*)

================================

Cathy concluded...

In attacking "The Book of Daniel," Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition urged the entertainment industry to treat Christians with the same respect it treats Muslims and Jews. I don't know about Jews; but if the Danish cartoons saga is an example, the way Western societies today treat speech deemed offensive to Muslims is precisely the wrong way to approach speech about religion.

================================

Maybe I'm just lazy (*SMILE*), but I don't spend a heck of a lot of time checking out cartoons in European newspapers. Nor do I expand a great deal of effort to keep abreast of the doings of Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.

As for how "Western societies" should or shouldn't control or not control their newspapers and other media and how Christians should look at things as compared to Muslims as compared to Jews... I'm just not connecting the dots like you apparently are, Cath. I just don't see the connection between Danish cartoons and Muslims reacting to them vs. "The Book of Daniel" and Andrea Lafferty.

BILL

Anonymous said...

"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder."

Look, if Muslims in Syria were threatening cartoonists in Syria for what they published, then so be it. It's their country. But to appease people who threaten violence against those who lawfully exercise their freedom of speech is insane. We need to stop walking on eggshells and present a clear message that violence against us (Western civilization) will not be tolerated. The US State Department response and sacking of a French newspaper editor was a big mistake.

Also, talk of finding more nuanced ways of critiquing Islam (as opposed to a cartoon of Mohammed with a fuse in his turban) misses the point. The point is not about HOW one begins "dialogue" - the point is that extremist Muslims find the dialogue IN AND OF ITSELF an offense to God, punishable by death. It doesn't matter how "nice" we are about it.

Cathy Young said...

William:

Cathy continued...

Why must Christian newspapers publish tabloid trash?


William, I believe this is the second time you've attributed to me something that was actually said by someone I was quoting.

It's especially puzzling in this case because I actually took the trouble to put the blockquotes in a different font. What gives?

By the way, I haven't watched any of The Book of Daniel. However, I don't think that "objectionable to Christians" equals "anti-Christian hate speech."

Cathy Young said...

Ah, that explains it.

Revenant said...

It's especially puzzling in this case because I actually took the trouble to put the blockquotes in a different font. What gives?

The "show original post" link to the left of the comment box removes the block quoting, which can make it hard to distinguish what you said from what you're quoting. I keep a copy of the article open in a separate window to be safe.

William R. Barker said...

Cath,

Any false attribution made by me to you was completely unintentional.

I was reading off the thread page (show original post) and as Rev was kind enough to point out, this removes the original block quoting.

In any case, my apologies - it was an honest mistake on my part.

Putting aside "whose" comments I was responding to, however, I stand by thrust of the post. (*SMILE*)

Allow me to add this thought:

re: Rioting in general -

Recent events in New Orleans, France, Australia, Britain and elsewhere indicate to me the need for a swift and overwhelming response to mob violence and rioting.

I'm not saying open up with 50-cals, but certainly in addition to batons, rubber bullets, water cannon, and tear gas, snipers should be ready to take out riot leaders and those engaged in extraordinary violence - molotov cocktails and the like.

Protecting life, limb, and property of innocents and ensuring public safety is the key duty of government. The citizens of Denmark, France, Britain, Australia, and we ourselves need to recognize that "allowing" rioting, looting, and unchecked violence to continue for one moment more than necessary is a receipe for disaster.

Anonymous said...

Just because something is legal (publishing the cartoons) doesn't mean it has to be done. Tensions are high now, across the globe, especially in the Middle East. There is an ongoing way, that shows signs of escalating. Why further inflame?? Because we can?

So, when a Jewish synagogue is defaced, we should NEVER show it? When a black church is burned, it shouldn't be showed?

Forget that.

If Muslims have a nasty habit of acting savage --- as MANY are doing right now --- then guess what? You're going to get a bad reputation.

Heck, pro-lifers got a horrible rep based on a very small number of whackjobs killing abortion doctors. And, UNLIKE the Muslim leadership in the Middle East (a few exceptions aside), the pro-life community OPPOSED the killings vehemently.

This, by the way, is exactly the attitude i'm talking about. Murderous thugs?

I bet Theo Van Gogh would find them thuggish. The writer who was trying to find an illustrator for a book on Mohammed ALSO would find them thuggish.

And, you know, if Arab papers weren't so laden with virulently anti-Semitic cartoons, I MIGHT sympathize. At this point, they are behaving like 12 year old children and a response SHOULD be coming, militarily, from burning of embassies.

Period.

-=Mike

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