You Don’t Have the Right to Not Be Offended

US official dies in Libya consulate attack in Benghazi

A US state department official was killed and at least one other American was wounded when militiamen stormed the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

It is believed the protest was held over a US-produced film that is said to be insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

The building was set on fire after armed men raided the compound with grenades.  Protests have also been held at the US embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

*sigh* Not this again.  Haven’t we been through this nonsense already?  Look at this image, and you tell me whether this is a justifiable response to some ignorant jackass halfway across the world making fun of someone’s religion. It is – or was – a building in the US consulate in Libya:

I’ve talked about this before … most notably here, in which I also discuss Terry Jones and his genius idea of making a big deal of telling the world that his religion is best.  Now we have some chowderhead making a movie that supposedly portrays Islam in a bad light …

The film that sparked the demonstration is said to have been produced by a 52-year-old US citizen from California named Sam Bacile, and promoted by an expatriate Egyptian Copt.

The two men are described as having anti-Islamic views.  A trailer of the low-budget movie has appeared on YouTube translated into Arabic.  […]

OK so here’s the video … I think.  It’s such horrible quality and doesn’t even make any sense that I have serious doubts it’s real, but this is what I found:

Seriously, this?  This is it?  Anyone who knows more about this, please let me know if I don’t have the right video, but if this is the real thing, then I’m even more confused at why anyone cares.  We’re not talking about some major film event that’s being released in theaters across the nation.  This is a video on YouTube that looks as if it was put together by a bunch of drunk college students during Spring Break.  Hell, Regular Ordinary Swedish Mealtime has far better production skills, and you even get a recipe out of the deal if you pay enough attention.

If this is what’s being used as justification for all of the rioting, arson, and murder, then the protesters might want to stop to consider that they’re not making themselves look any more rational by completely losing their minds over it.  They might also want to consider another religion; or, at the very least, a somewhat more sedate interpretation of the one they supposedly follow.  Christians ignore huge chunks of the bible all the time and they still think they’re saved … everybody’s doing it!

The rally followed a demonstration in Cairo, in which protesters breached the US embassy and tore down the United States flag, which was flying at half mast to mark the 9/11 attacks, and replaced it with an Islamist banner.

Egyptian protesters condemned what they said was the humiliation of the Prophet of Islam under the pretext of freedom of speech.

See, the funny thing about free speech is that it’s just that.  You are free to say whatever you like about whatever you like – provided you do not incite violence or genocide or something.  The result, however, is the very real possibility that someone, somewhere, is going to say something you don’t like and you will end up being offended.  The people who do this are not hiding under the “pretext of free speech”.  It is free speech.  The fact that some people apparently don’t know whether to shit or go sailing whenever anyone says something to offend their beloved prophet isn’t our problem, and we – in a general sense – shouldn’t be required to change our behavior because of their inability to act like adults.

That said, I understand the need to be careful when we have troops and civilians in that part of the world.  Obviously when there are people in harm’s way in Islamic countries – or any for that matter – it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure there’s as little friction as possible between people of differing cultures.  But when you are faced with the prospect of interacting with a society (or certain subgroups within it) that feel it is their right to set fire to buildings, overturn cars, and murder in response to some minuscule offense against their religion, you are not dealing with rational people.

The US embassy earlier issued a statement condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions”.

The statement added: “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

They had to say this in order to calm things down.  However, as I said:  that’s not the abuse of free speech; it’s the point of free speech.  We have it so we can freely disagree or argue about anything without the fear of the government arresting us for doing so.  There should be absolutely no prohibition against speaking out against any kind of religion just because someone’s feelings are going to be hurt.  I’m sorry, but that’s tough.  This point needs to be understood by everyone – especially by those people who feel free to condemn people of other religions yet go on murderous rampages if the tables are turned on them.

And for further rumination on matters of religion, politics, and sociological constructs, Senator Jason signs off and heads to bed.  Alert Ted Koppel.

EDIT:  Just this morning I learned that the US ambassador to Libya has been killed in the attacks.  To their credit, the attacks have been harshly condemned by officials in the Libyan government, including the Deputy Prime Minister; but for this to happen in the first place tells me there’s something inherently wrong about the way Islam is being practiced in some parts of the world.

Maybe that’s intolerant and bigoted of me … but I don’t think the practice of any religion should result in pointless death and destruction like this.

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This entry was posted in Freedom from Religion, Profiles in Fundamentalism, Religion and Public Life, Religion in the News, Society Marches On and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to You Don’t Have the Right to Not Be Offended

  1. Pingback: You Don’t Represent Us (Benghazi Remix) | Crimes Against Divinity

  2. Pingback: It Depends on Which Thousand Words You Choose. | Crimes Against Divinity

  3. Pingback: It’s Pretty Obvious | Crimes Against Divinity

  4. Pingback: Stick to Economics. | Crimes Against Divinity

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