Sunday, May 3, 2015

Free Speech is not an entitlement to insult: "Draw the Prophet" draws fire #GarlandTX

I'm sorry, but free speech doesn't grant us the privilege to antagonize other people.  No one should be surprised about the shootings in Garland Texas tonight.  After Copenhagen and then the Paris shootings, is anyone really surprised that Islamic extremists would attack an exhibit that acts like their beliefs (under the guise of free speech) or one that ridicules their beliefs is safe?  I don't condone the gunmen's attacks, but neither do I think anyone should be surprised.

I'm a non-racist, committed Christian.  Yet, asking for cartoon drawings of Muhammad for the sake of promoting "free speech" makes about as much sense as walking into a predominantly African-American neighborhood and chanting the "N" word..., just to practice your rights of free speech, or going into a White supremacist group and shouting out "cracker" and expecting everyone to bow to your rights of free speech.

We live in a diverse world, and a world that requires common sense.  People who think that free speech has given them a pass on saying what they want to say without consequences are simply naive.

The gift of free speech is one that allows us to say or write our thoughts without retribution from our government.  Free speech won't protect you from people who do not respect your rights.  Practicing free speech is a wonderful liberty we enjoy as Americans, but is isn't a guarantee that others will respect you.  That's why we need to be respectful in our use of free speech.

Attempting to rile up people or using free speech for "shock value" carries risks that have to be weighed out.  What do we prove by antagonising any group... that we won't be repressed or bullied into silence?  Perhaps?  But when stunts like we saw in Garland backfire, please don't act surprised.

I do not think Islam is the correct religion, I'm a Christian, and as a follower of Christ I know that insulting Islamic people is not acceptable.   I can't and won't excuse the gunmen who wanted to exact revenge in the name of Allah & Islam tonight, but I also do not think it is wise to hide behind free speech to make a point about rights.


Judah and Michelle said...

I am very conflicted about this discussion. On the one hand, Its completely ridiculous to host an event that intentionally mocks something. On the other, I am initially against any form of regulation for Free Speech. I tend to side on the concept of, "if I don't like the message, I turn it off." But that's me....

I do disagree with your analogy that this conference was like going into an African American dominated society shouting the "N..." word and going to to white supremacist meeting shouting "cracker". The conference was not set up in a predominantly Muslim environment. They were nowhere near the middle east. It was Texas. Was it stupid? yes. But the attackers were out of THEIR element. They went there with the intent of doing as much harm as possible.

Also, free speech is not just about protection from the government. Free speech is about protection from citizens as well. As long as what is said is not wrong against a person or corporation (slander), what is said is not threatening, or intentional to incite violence, as a US citizen we are protected by the First Amendment.

The US has some of the most broadest RESTRICTIONS when it comes to free speech. To the point, that Freedom of Expression is also included by most citizens. Most countries look to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 where there is a basic description of freedom of OPINION. There are numerous others that different countries look to in providing some form of basic freedom of expression. However, almost all restrict certain types that include intentional hate speech, child pornography, and actions that are intended to incite a riot/lawlessness (also threats). The irony is that hardly any terrorist group as of recent has been convicted under any of these international laws.....

One of the more fascinating "tests" for freedom of expression was/is the Miller test. This is where a "normal citizen" could look at a situation or phrase and declare if it was obscene or not. My problem with this is that it would vary.... You may not be offended by a show on TV, whereas I would be. My neighbor may be offended by my POW/MIA flag, but I post it proudly. There needs to be a reference point of truth. Christianity provides just that when it comes to expressing oneself regarding others. It amazes me how many American people take for granted what our country stands for that were taken from basic Christian teaching. Everyone is created equally. This is endowed by God.

There must be logical, moral, and ethical decisions put in place, but our government has shied away from that, in favor of almost Laissez-faire types of decisions. Without truth as the corner stone of decisions, our country will continue to erode.

We stop these kinds of actions by putting people in place with high morals and understanding of what is right and wrong. Christianity has provided a basis of right and wrong, equality, and economic freedom that even non Christians benefit from when laws and policies are implemented ethically. The bible and what it says about treating others is truth. To intentionally leave it out as a resource is completely asinine. With leaders in place that use it as a tool for dealing with others, this event would not have even happened. And even if the event organizers had sued, the courts would not have heard it due to it being offensive and providing no value to others or to an economy. That is, of course, assuming that the judges would be using the bible as a resource of truth as well.

Craig Cottongim said...

Judah, my analogy like all analogies breaks down, no it's not perfect, but it was a shoot to make the point.

I hate to resort to quoting Bill O'reilly, but please listen to what he said last night: