Sunday, February 05, 2006

A must read

Ed Morrissey has a point of view:

Editorial cartoons exist to challenge political thought and expose hypocrisy. Among religions, Islam should be the least protected from this form of speech, as it insists on involving itself in temporal political matters wherever it is practiced. Indeed, it insists on dictating political and legal matters, usually in the most extreme terms, and it uses the life of Mohammed as its claim on political and legal supremacy. Christianity hasn't taken that position in centuries, focusing on the spiritual and individual rather than group diktat. Judaism hasn't had the means to develop that kind of theocratic position for over two millenia until the establishment of Israel, and even then the Chosen have chosen a liberal democracy for themselves rather than rule by the high-priest descendants of Aaron.

That insistence on dictating terms of temporal power makes criticism, by cartoonists or editorialists, absolutely necessary in order to combat the stultifying reach of sharia. Islam sets the terms of debate. It cannot insist on temporal rule based on Mohammed and the Qu'ran and then expect people to refrain from criticizing either one. Christians understand this, even if they don't pursue the thought intellectually to its end. If we Christians insisted on basing all government and laws explicitly on the four Gospels, we would necessarily be forced to intellectually defend each and every passage, as well as the life and actions of Jesus and his disciples and their assumed infallibility to rule on human activity.

For this reason, we must support the publication of the cartoons by European news organizations. Islam wants to impose its tenets on us, and if we give up the option of political criticism, we have moved more than halfway towards surrender to the Islamists. For those individuals who cross the line into unnecessary offense, the option to use free debate to argue the point will remain open as long as we defend free speech.


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