After republishing cartoons which depict the prophet Muhammad, Muslims all over Europe are up in arms because the newspapers unaffectedly defended their right to publish the cartoons by reminding them that democratic freedoms include the "right to blasphemy."
Let’s look at that word, blasphemy.
Blasphemy: Any contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a sacred entity.
Wow. Blasphemy sounds much worse than it actually is.
Ultimately, those who come to the defense of God over things like this do so because they feel compelled to.
They feel obligated to do something because they know, at least on some level, that chances are better than great that nothing is going to happen unless they take it upon themselves to “make something happen”.
That’s why we’ve got armed Muslims storming newspaper agencies in Gaza, threatening to behead the people responsible for running the cartoon because they know, no one responsible for giving the Ok to publish that cartoon is going to lose their head if they aren’t the ones to chop it off.
My question is this, if drawing a picture of Allah or Muhammad is so unspeakably wrong, then why won’t God take care of it himself?
If vengeance is God’s, and surely blasphemers will get what is coming to them in hell, then why can’t you actually act like you believe that and take comfort in the fact that they are going to get what is coming to them?
Why do you have to get involved at all? Why isn’t this just between God and the infidel managing editor of France Soir?
If God is all powerful, if he is the architect of the universe, the unbegotten one, the one that makes everything possible, then why does he need you?
God didn’t need anyone’s help to destroy Sodom and Gomorra. He didn’t need anyone’s help to do much of anything, except for that little stint in Egypt when apparently he needed Moses to wave his stick around get miracles to work, but besides that, God is pretty much a self-contained entity.
God doesn’t draw his power from a can of spinach.
But to even go further than that, going by the definition of blasphemy, what is or isn’t blasphemy is contingent on someone finding the act contemptuous or profane.
Both of those are judgment calls. Some are easier to make than others but still, they are judgment calls.
What is blasphemy to this person might not be blasphemy to this person.
I guess it all depends on how uptight you are.
I am really starting to wonder if mankind will ever find a practicable balance between tolerance and intolerance in my life time or anyone’s life time.
I, for one, don’t believe that society should be tolerant of anything and everything.
A little intolerance expressed by disapproving glares and a little finger waving can go a long way to making society a better place.
On one hand I think too much tolerance leads to the moral decay of society and eventually the literal decay of society.
You’ve got to stand up for something. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.
But on the other hand, when you are too intolerant, when your way of doing things is too abrasive with everyone around you there is nothing that can come from it that isn’t destructive.
I still believe that the social-moral-political behavior of many people is swayed one way or the other by whether or not they get public approval.
I for one believe that there are too many men in society today are too comfortable having four and five children from three or four, sometimes five different women, and define “taking care of their kid” as writing their former one-night stand a check every month.
In those cases, I am all for less tolerance and a lot more public disapproval to curtail what I see as a blasé attitude towards taking responsibility for their own seed.
But when I read about Muslims stroking out because they can’t handle the fact that non-Muslims are not bound to abide by Muslim etiquette, I want to force feed them a handful of valiums.
The front page of the daily France Soir carried the headline "Yes, We Have the Right to Caricature God" along with a cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud.
After publishing the drawings, a few masked Palestinian gunmen briefly took over a European Union office in Gaza on Monday.
Syria predictably called for the cartoonists as well as the publishers to be punished, which no doubt translates into being beheaded or bleed to death or some other archaic form of capital punishment popular in Muhammad’s day.
Even Saudi Arabia and Libya recalled their ambassadors to Denmark over these cartoons.
So where do you stand? Because they get all pissed off are they right? Should we accommodate them, maybe give them a piece of candy like we would some spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the supermarket that we want to shut up?
Or do we look at them and calmly remind them that their belief system and dogma is offensive to somebody. And if they don’t want the Pork Industry to send armed men into their Mosques and threatening to shoot anyone that doesn’t eat the Ham sandwiches they brought with them, then acknowledge that non-Muslims are not bound by whatever is standard procedure for Muslims.
Christians aren’t insisting that they acknowledge Jesus Christ as the son of God because it offends us that Muslims demoted him to being just a prophet.
I am sure that would qualify as blasphemous to Pat Robertson and he is always speaking for God so he should know.
Non-Muslims are not bound to live by Muslim rules. A Muslim can’t depict Muhammad. Fine. I am not a Muslim. Rule doesn’t apply. I can draw Muhammad naked in my living room playing X Box 360 if I want.
In France, Mohammed Bechari, president of the National Federation of the Muslims of France, is going to actually start legal proceedings against France Soir because of "these pictures that have disturbed us, and that are still hurting the feelings of 1.2 billion Muslims."
I’m sorry, I didn’t know that it was illegal to hurt people’s feelings in France? I remember after 9-11 someone was throwing a party in France and it was advertised as a “dress like as Osama Bin Laden” party and some French judge ruled that the guy couldn’t have his party because it was “in bad taste”.
In America there are no such laws on the books, as of yet. Knock on wood. And thank God for it.
I have the right to hurt your feelings. I have the right to be insensitive. I have the right to be in bad taste.
You have the right to boycott me and the right to turn the channel, read another newspaper or surf a different web site.
So to answer the question has the west lost its sense of the sacred or are Muslims just too uptight?
I vote for the second.
Because where I come from what is sacred is the right to express yourself and the right to refuse to support something that you don’t agree with.
That is what is sacred.
A cartoon of Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse is not.