Drawing the Prophet on the First Amendment

May 11, 2015


It is fascinating to learn that now, after someone opposed to Islam and solely Islam, has made a point by way of the First Amendment about the dangers of Islam, suddenly liberty must be accompanied by responsibility. Ridiculing all religions is acceptable (see Bill Maher the Mouth). Ridiculing Christianity is acceptable (see 90% of modern liberalism). Ridiculing only “the religion of peace” is not acceptable. So sayeth the national press and liberals- just not in so many words.

For years, liberals have pointed out that “responsibility” is not in the Constitution; the American Revolution wasn’t fought for “responsibility,” etc. Freedom; pure, undiluted, caffeinated freedom. People now have the “freedom” to ride bicycles while naked through the streets of San Francisco, but “responsibility” has been discovered by liberals after a terrorist attack by two Muslims.

For those who have been traveling or misplaced the iPhone battery charger, a quick refresher:  Pamela Geller, a woman who believes that Islam is not compatible with liberty, sponsored a “Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest”- many called it a “Draw the Prophet” contest- on May 3rd in Garland, Texas. Two Phoenix, Arizona, Muslims tried to shoot their way into the event but instead were shot dead by security guards. No art pencils, paint, or crayons were found on their persons- but don’t jump to conclusions and think that it was a terrorist attack.

Any physical depiction of Muhammad is considered blasphemous. This prohibition is not in the Qur’an, but that simply points to the fact that understanding Islam requires more than just reading the Islamic holy book. The offended Muslims retaliated by doing what offended Muslims have done throughout Europe:  they went on the attack, literally, with bullets flying.

Qur’anic Muslims worldwide have surely taken notice that Europe is safer for them. In America, we shoot back.

On the day following the attack, “journalism” being a dead art, most national reporting and opining was not about why it is that a religion of peace sure has a lot of violent followers. Nope. The focus was on Ms. Geller. That’s what is known as “liberal logic.”

The oft-quoted, oft-discredited Southern Poverty Law Center became the national media’s go-to source. Ms. Geller co-founded the “extremist” “hate group” American Freedom Defense Initiative; she is an “Islamophobe;” etc.  CNN.com, that bastion of American exceptionalism and everything related to liberty, ran a commentary by a Muslim who explained that Geller’s profession of allegiance to the First Amendment is, in fact, harmful to America.

A serious point is in order:  once one has been lectured, in person, by moderate American Muslims that America has too much freedom and that many of our freedoms should be curtailed, one learns to take the rhetoric very seriously. Such discussion is not idle talk. Many Muslims who do not take the call-to-arms portions of the Qur’an seriously the way “radical” Muslims do still believe that American liberties should be curtailed. That is an alarming thought.

I personally do not favor needlessly insulting any religion, no matter how opposed I am to the violent, misogynistic, 7th Century political, legal, and religious system that is Islam. I viewed “Charlie Hebdo” the same way; that organization is populated by a bunch of foolish atheists who tempted fate and Islam one too many times. They did not “deserve” what they got, but they were not going to give up until they martyred themselves- so they thought- for the cause of secular humanism. I cannot say “je suis Charlie Hebdo” for fools with death wishes. They tried for years to catch those bullets. One day they succeeded.

Ms. Geller appears to have more sense, but she, too, tempted fate. However, to many Americans, the difference is that we expect people to take insults as part of the cost of American liberty. To the American media, the difference is that Ms. Geller did not insult all religions. If she had done so, liberals would be tripping all over themselves to show their solidarity with her and others in favor of free speech.

Ms. Geller chose to push the boundaries, but in America, free speech is not about agreement; American liberty is not about agreement. Just twelve hundred miles to the east, protestors and rioters in Baltimore were being hailed for their courage and excused for their so-called “frustration.” The same praise obviously does not apply for those frustrated by the erosion of moral and founding principles as an aggressive political and religious system tries to gain a foothold in our country.

There is one other reason that the national press sides with Islam in these situations, despite the trail of death and destruction that it leaves in its wake:  they don’t want to die. Ms. Geller and Christians throughout the world certainly pose no physical harm, so they are easy targets for ridicule.

French is not our language, so we can dispense with “je suis.” We have to say it in Texan:  “I stand with the First Amendment, ya’ll.”

Copyright ©2015

Brian W. Peterson has been a columnist for a mid-size California newspaper, is a veteran of political campaigns, and was a member of the publicly elected Republican Central Committee of Los Angeles County. His psychological thriller Dead Dreams and sci-fi adventure Children of the Sun are currently available through Amazon.com. You can follow Brian on Twitter @cybrpete.