The Folly of Mohammed-Mocking

Do we even know what “freedom of speech” is, anymore?

Happily no one was killed at last night’s “Draw Mohammed” contest in Phoenix. There are a lot of angry people on hand, but there were also a lot of police who were ready to deal with any trouble. You will remember that, when they had a “Draw Mohammed” in Houston, people got shot.

Current events are confusing me. Apparently “freedom of speech” means you have an absolute right to insult religious people and mock their beliefs–something which Christians in America have known for quite some time, and Muslims are just finding out.

But apparently it also means that if you are a religious person, especially if you are a Christian, you may be forced to say and do things that are an outrage to your conscience: to take an active part, for instance, in a same-sex parody of marriage.

It seems to mean that a religious person, especially a Christian, must tamely put up with speech that seeks to refute his beliefs. But at the same time, no atheist has to tolerate seeing or hearing any kind of religious expression. One atheist can stifle a whole town’s prayers.

You can see how it gets confusing.

I don’t think much of Draw Mohammed contests. Other than to provoke Muslims to violence, what’s the point?

If it’s “to exercise free speech,” then it seems to be the kind of free speech exercised by Caliban, the monster in Shakespeare’s The Tempest: all he knew how to do was curse.

As a Christian, I naturally don’t believe in Islam. As a civilized human being, I hate the savagery practiced by Muslims all over the Middle East and Africa.

But is the only use of free speech to curse at things which others hold sacred? Is that all we know how to do with our freedom?

St. Paul preached to pagans. Did he ever try to convert them by telling dirty jokes about their gods? “So Zeus comes home drunk one night, and Hera’s waiting for him with a rolling pin…” No, he did not. Indeed, he cited their own poets in support of his Christian teaching, in his sermon to the sophomoric pagans of Athens (see Acts 17). Mockery was not found in Paul’s evangelistic tool kit.

If Muslims will make war, it’s righteous to make war right back at them, and defeat them–which the West could easily do, if the leaders had the stomach for it. If they will commit acts of violence against their neighbors, it’s righteous to punish them severely–whatever it takes to ensure the domestic tranquility.

But if they will live in peace, then Christians most certainly ought to live in peace with them. We do our Lord Jesus Christ no service by joining the Caliban crowd in gratuitously offending Muslims.

“Hey, guys! Now you know how we feel, when they hand over our tax dollars to some cockroach whose ‘art’ is to dunk a crucifix in urine! Now you know exactly how we feel.”

It’s what the ungodly do. It’s not what we should do.

3 comments on “The Folly of Mohammed-Mocking

  1. That thing is, it doesn’t take much to provoke Muslims. Just speaking out against them will draw their ire. I’ve seen the picture that won the “Draw Mohammad” contest and its didn’t look that offensive to me. Of course they get violent by just for drawing and picture of Mohammad. And that is a problem.

    I’m not one to intentionally offend someone, but there is a serious problem when it becomes acceptable that if you offend Islam it could get you killed. That sort of behavior would not be tolerated for anyone else, yet Muslims seem to have a license to kill without reproach. And when they do they kill someone they blame the victim, which only encourages more attacks.

    From a Christian perspective I can understand what your saying, tho the people participating in these events might not be even Christian at all. The last one was held by an atheist. Maybe these contests are not necessarily the best approach, but they do bring to light a very serious problem, namely Islam is incompatible with Western civilization. Just my two cents.

    1. But if Islam is incompatible with Western civilization (and it is), then we should insist that our laws be followed by anyone and everyone present in our country, and severely punish Muslims who break them. Murder, honor killings, wiping out the editorial staff of a magazine–how ridiculous, to answer these outrages with a cartoon contest that will also offend and baffle Muslims who have not broken the law.

      If they won’t live by our rules, we should have the courage to ship them out.

  2. Good thoughts and writing. Like your tone and style. Humorous and pointed at the same time.
    But Islam is a 180 from Christianity and typical civilized western thought. An Islamic radical already knows Christianity is all that stands between them and the world domination the Koran ultimately dictates is Muslim objective. Even the word Islam means submit. An unconditional command.
    Great writing.
    God bless

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