Imagine my surprise and horror as I realized yesterday was Draw Mohammad Day 2013. What the hell sort of self-respecting atheist am I to pass up such a prestigious day with absolutely nothing to show for it?
For shame. Richard Dawkins is going to come down the chimney around Christmastime and leave me a copy of Ray Comfort’s heavily edited 150th anniversary edition of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” as punishment.
For those not familiar with what I’m talking about, “Draw Mohammad Day” was started back in 2010 as an expression of free speech and to support those across the world who have been either threatened or attacked as a result of doing something as harmless as drawing a picture of Islam’s prophet.
You know … like Muslims used to do themselves.
For as much noise as I make about religion and its influence on our legal system, public schools, and overall daily life, I generally try not to be an asshole about it just for its own sake. (OK, well, I don’t think I do, but history will decide.) I will mention idiots like Pastor Terry Jones of Florida, who a little over a year ago decided to have a Quran burning party not to defend free speech or to show solidarity with the embattled Danish cartoonist, but to thumb his nose to Islam. The response was … well … sadly expected.
For as much as I think stunts like Terry’s don’t help the folks who are serving overseas, it still serves as a very good example of the kind of unique problem we face with Islam today. All it took to get thousands of people to riot in the streets, burn store fronts, overturn cars, assault innocent civilians and behead others was for some jackass in Florida to burn one of their holy books.
And that’s a big problem.
The thing is, though, it’s not ours to fix. If the people who pull this kind of crap are doing so because their religion tells them to, then they and their interpretation of whatever religion they follow are to blame. It’s my personal opinion that the world would be a better place if they found another, less angry one. Maybe try some meditation and fewer beheadings. They of all people need to get used to the idea that all the outside world doesn’t care about their religion or its prophet, nor do they have nearly the same reverence for something that so consumes their own lives. All we see from the west is a backward mass of lunatics who completely lose their minds every time someone doesn’t treat their holy book with kid gloves.
So that, personally, is why I participate in Draw Mohammad Day. We shouldn’t be afraid to do something as simple as draw a picture of a religious figure because some folks half a world away haven’t poked their heads into the 21st century yet.
As a bonus for reading this far, I also give you Tim Kreider’s depiction a few years back, when he was writing about the world’s religions. This was actually from his piece on Buddhism, noting it is the only religion whose figurehead’s tummy can be rubbed for luck.