Thursday, September 13, 2012
Failing to Understand the Whole Picture
Here is Ace of Spades thoughts on what William Saletan wrote. Well worth the effort to read it all.
It's interesting to me that the link Mr. Saletan has in his article to the original statement from the Embassy goes nowhere. That means that some people in the Embassy are attempting to erase the initial comment, to erase history. Too bad for them that the internet rarely forgets. Here's the part of the statement that gets under the skin of Ace and me.
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions....We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others. (Emphasis added.)Name anyone in the Embassy in Cairo, or in the entire diplomatic corps, or in the whole of the State Department, or in the whole of the current federal government who has ever condemned a single effort of anyone to offend Catholics or evangelical Christians.
Ace limits his piece to anti-Christian art, but Piss Christ and the elephant feces Madonna with porn pasted on are low hanging fruit.
Let's get to efforts, primarily on the left, to offend Catholics or evangelical Christians who take Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 seriously. Generally, those who believe homosexuality is a sin are called the stupid neologism homophobic. It's not a compliment.
What about Mr. Saletan? Has he ever tried to hurt the religious feelings of Christians who believe homosexuality is a sin? Has he ever written anything that would offend such Christian believers?
Well there's this:
The Vatican's new policy on gay priests has been leaked. Officially, it proposes the incorrigibility of deeply rooted gay tendencies. Unofficially, it exposes the deeply rooted, incorrigible antigay tendencies of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI.Is "deeply rooted, incorrigible antigay tendencies" something to make the current Pope feel good about himself, or is it something bound to hurt his feelings? It's actually pretty tame criticism compared to the hatred from the left, as shown in the efforts in California to shut up supporters of Proposition 8, for example.
But my point is not to try to dredge up hypocrisy from Mr. Saletan but to point out that condemning some speaker for offending someone's feelings, even their religious feelings, cannot be squared with the American concept of free speech. If you can only speak things that will not offend believers, then you are not free to speak your mind. It's really just that simple.
What gets to Ace and me is the horrible misconception our current government (and, alas, Mr. Saletan) seem to have about our First Amendment's guarantee of speech free from government censorship.