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response to Ferdinand Gajewski

Reader comment on item: [U.S. Intelligence: ]"Moslem States Represent a Potential Threat to World Peace"
in response to reader comment: Abuse of Muslims in the West

Submitted by Sidda (United States), Feb 17, 2006 at 12:05

You ask a question regarding morality and psychiatry. Some might consider, say, plunking an upside-down crucifix in a jar of urine to be anti-social; I really couldn't know what diagnosis a psychiatric evaluation of that artist's mind would produce. Maybe he had a bad experience in the church as a child; who knows?

A proper and traditional Christian response to such gratuitous insult would be to demonstrate disapproval through peaceful means, and to pray for that person. Insulting someone's religious beliefs would, from a Christian perspective, be considered uncharitable. However, it is not illegal; it is protected by the 1st Amendment (in America). I'll take a wild leap here and say that most people who mock and ridicule religion are secularists and not devout Christians (or Jews or Muslims, etc.).

The Mohammed cartoons were in context. One of the cartoons was of a cartoonist nervously looking over his shoulder while he sketched a picture of Mohammed. Considering that the cartoonists have received death threats and threats to chop off their hands, this cartoon must now be seen as making a valid point.

There are many things that are legal which could be considered uncharitable, even immoral from a religious perspective. But we have separation of religion from government. The point isn't whether the cartoons were uncharitable. It is that in the West, criticism of religion is not prohibited in this day and age. The Muslims are trying to impose their restrictions on us and they are using violence and the threats of violence to intimidate us into accepting their religious prohibitions. One of the reasons that Islam is very difficult to reform is that there is no criticism of it allowed. The Muslims are not allowed to criticize, and now they are trying to shut down all discussion or debate on Islam by extending that edict to us in the West. That is the bigger picture.

If I were to live in the Middle East, I would respect their traditions; when they move to the West, they have to respect the way we do things here. And one of our values is freedom of expression even if it is offensive to someone else. That doesn't mean that the person who is offended doesn't have the right to express their feelings in a peacful, civil way. If Muslims find life in the West to be too offensive to endure, then they need to move to societies which conform better to their sensibilities. We cannot begin to erode our core freedoms because we then are going down a slippery slope.
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