Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The truth hurts more than a beheading?

You can say pretty much anything you want about an American's religion, as long as you leave him alone to practice his beliefs.
It is possible to insult a religion in the USA and to provoke outrage, but after publication of a few, hot letters to the editor and maybe a sermon or two, Americans go about their business relatively unperturbed. Oh, and they'll pray for the perpetrator.

Take the recent case of The Cavalier Daily, the University of Virginia's student newspaper. It published a couple of cartoons that outraged Christians, including one panel in which the Virgin Mary explains to Joseph she has a rash that was ''immaculately transmitted.''

After a Christian letter-writing drive, the Cavalier issued the following apology: ''We are regretful that many took offense to (the cartoons). Offense was not our intent ... .''

Well, you can call that a lie. Of course offense was the intent, under the guise of providing an ''open forum'' for ideas. But offended Christians let off some steam, the newspaper issued its non-apology, and that's very likely the end of it.
This sort of reaction is pretty much the model throughout ''the West,'' including nominally Judeo-Christian Europe. Western people of faith don't fear criticism. So Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, are bemused by the intensity of the anger that ensues when Islam is offended. And unremitting anger has been expressed since Pope Benedict XVI linked Islam and violence a couple of weeks ago.

Down in Somalia, for example, a Muslim cleric said, in essence, ''Call Islam violent? We'll kill you!''

In fact, ''we'll kill you'' is a common Islamic reaction to affronts. Being left alone isn't enough. Take the case of the Danish newspaper that published cartoons impiously depicting Mohammed. After publication of the cartoons, imams in the Middle East issued fatwas ordering the death of all connected to the offending art work.

Entire article here.

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