Offending Islam: That is the American Way
I am not an advocate of the lunatic fringe (left or right) in this country. Neither do I think it prudent or reasonable to antagonize the members of any ethnic group, sexual persuasion, or religion with inflammatory language or suggestive behavior. But I recognize the right of free speech (political or otherwise) that I may adamantly disagree with. That is the American Way.
I hate to see the American flag desecrated by rioters in the streets of Egypt, and I absolutely loathe it being done by American citizens on United States soil. But it has been upheld by the courts as an exercise of free speech in this country, so I must tolerate the affront. It irritates me to no end to see Ku Klux Klan rallies, Neo-Nazi Party parades, and active Communist Party activities on American soil, but that too has been deemed free speech by our courts. That is the American Way.
I am offended by bigotry by any particular ethnic category against another. It infuriates me beyond description when I observe historical religious landmarks desecrated by vandals or torn down by anti-religious special interest groups in the name of the law, yet I must recognize that free speech (as interpreted thus far by our courts) paints with a broad brush, and I must abide by the rule of law, even when it gives unprecedented favor to a special interest group in the minority over the people in the majority. That is the American Way.
And I am no fan of unruly mobs who park their smelly carcasses on public thoroughfares, refuse to obtain parade permits, and disrupt the daily routines of legitimate businesses for the purpose of gaining attention and sympathy for political causes that most working people do not endorse nor care much about. However, I acknowledge the constitutional right of protest, even when effigies of the president are burned along with the American flag. That, too, is the American Way.
Let's face it: Free speech can be very offensive and downright vulgar. That is the American Way in our modern age.
But somehow, when free speech offends Islam in America, it is no longer the American Way. Why is that?
The actions of the White House in response to the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi one year ago should be evidence enough. You may recall that our President and Secretary of State went on an apology tour to calm Islam over the outrageous murder of four Americans at our embassy (sovereign U.S. territory.) Using the false narrative that some obscure film (no one ever watched) and an even more obscure filmmaker (no one ever heard of) managed to inflame Islamic protestors in Libya, Americans were initially led to believe the Benghazi attack was not Islamic terrorism. That was a bald face lie.
You might remember that the federal Department of Justice refused to classify the blatant and bloody attack (in the name of Allah by an officer in the U.S. Army against his fellow soldiers), during the Ft. Hood shooting rampage in Texas, as an incident of terrorism. Instead is was downgraded to a matter of “work place violence.” Yet now, as the proverbial shoe is on the other foot, a wacky wing-nut who proclaims to represent Christianity has attempted to exercise free speech by publicly burning numerous copies of Islam's Holy Book. Instead of being allowed to carry out his First Amendment rights, he was intercepted and arrested by the local sheriff's department in Florida on some obscure law concerning illegal transportation of fuel. Ask yourself: how many flag burners in this country get arrested for unlawful fuel transportation in this country? I have not read of any such related arrests, except for Pastor Terry Jones and members of the Church of the Lunatic Fringe.
And the other charge he and his compatriot were arrested for was an unlawful open carry of a firearm. Does this mean there is a lawful open carry in Florida? Or was Pastor Jones prevented from exercising his First Amendment Rights by the unreasonable application of some obscure laws because his free speech exercise would probably offend Islam?
Pastor Jones is a pathetic representative of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His behavior is not Christ-like at all. But free speech in the United States of America is not predicated on who it might offend. Otherwise, artist Andres Serrano's “Piss Christ” (a photo of a crucifix submerged in the artist's own urine) would have warranted his immediate arrest for offending most Christians as well as the American Catholic Church in general. You might also remember that in at least one Islamic country, Terry Jones has been found guilty of offending the Islamic god, Allah, and has been condemned to death in absentia.
I imagine if Terry Jones had not been intercepted on fuel-ish law violations, and had been successful in setting all those copies of the Qu'ran on fire, he might have been arrested for arson by the authorities. Anyone ever recall any rioters in this country being arrested on arson charges for merely burning our flag? Please cite the article if you have any evidence.
As I have stated earlier, Terry Jones is a kook. I disagree with his politics, his interpretation of the gospel, and his behavior in the Name of God. But he has the same rights of free speech and protest that smelly OWS protesters, anti-government Tea Party activists, Teamsters and other unions' members, and every law-abiding citizen or group in this country possess. My point is that it appears our government of late has been selectively choosing which group gets to exercise full free speech privilege, while it sanctions, oppresses, and uses technical violations of lesser laws to violate the constitutional guarantees of those people and groups it deems unworthy. Not only does our government punish politically unfavorable dissenters, it seems hell-bent on preventing anyone from offending Islam. And that is NOT the American Way.
You be the judge.
Here is a link to the story on Terry Jones from the Huffington Post.