Saturday, January 17, 2015

insulting Islam

Does anyone else feel a burr under their saddle about last week's slaughter of workers at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that published rather amateurish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed? The righteous reaction has centered around a desire for "freedom of speech." I would have thought the outrage might center more realistically on the slaughter: Murder is not generally a socially-approved activity.

But more, what ever happened to your mother's admonition, "Put a sock in it?" In what way is it wise to insult another man's belief system and then be surprised -- let alone outraged -- by the reaction? There is something to be said for civility ... sometimes the civility of silence.

To the extent that murder is condoned or encouraged by free speech, to that extent it certainly deserves to be challenged. But people believe all sorts of things and basically things work out better if I allow you your bullshit if you will allow me mine. It may be that a bit of teasing is warranted, but a public humiliation is ... what? ... thoughtless and irresponsible, perhaps.
... throngs of Muslims around the world held protests Friday against the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad by the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, with some of the demonstrations turning violent.
I realize that threading the needle between "freedom of speech" and irresponsible and self-serving insult is difficult. But much as I dislike the Muslim or Jewish or Christian invitations to, so to speak, 'kill the infidel,' still I think there is something stupid about deliberately insulting someone else. Those who act on their beliefs must bear the responsibility; those who merely believe are like teenagers ... wait a while.

Not that I am guiltless in all this: How could I recognize a flaw if I didn't have it?

1 comment:

  1. Free speech has never applied to religion. Christianity's done it's fair share of slaughtering heretics for speaking their mind. The internet's pretty free and easy with things, but you put a piece of art in a public place that makes fun of xtianity today and you'll end up in the news paper, protesters, etc.

    It was xtians bombing abortion clinics and killing the doctors who worked there. Say happy holidays and you're part of the war on christmas. Religions is generally constrained by social mores, but it's really whatever they can get away with, and sometimes beyond, depending on the wind.

    It's stupid, and it's wrong, but it's dependable.