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September 11, 2012Posted Sunday, September 16, 2012, at 5:15 PM
This year, the anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, snuck up on me.
I was absorbed in other things and did not have a piece written before the memorial arrived.
As it turns out, the story this year is not what happened 11 years ago.
Riots erupted across much of the Middle East and North Eastern Africa.
In the process, a mob entered the sovereign territory of the U.S., our embassy compound, to encounter Marines prohibited from carrying live ammunition.
In the chaos, our ambassador to Libya was captured and tortured to death.
His three bodyguards were shot in the head.
Let us take the official line at face value.
This was not a series of planned attacks to coincide with the anniversary.
Rather, it was in reaction to a movie, or movie trailer, on YouTube.
We are all familiar with the death threat still hanging over the head of Salman Rushdie from 1989.
We are also familiar with the death threat still hanging over the Dutch cartoonist who drew a picture of Muhammad, with his turban morphed into a bomb with a lit fuse.
We also remember the reaction in the Islamic world to the rumor that a Koran was flushed down a toilet or an obscure preacher's threat to burn a Koran.
The President of the United States officially found this movie "disgusting and reprehensible."
Federal agents have taken the man who made the movie into custody.
It appears to me that saying bad things about Muhammad gets people killed.
Despite assertions to the contrary, the United States is a Christian nation.
If someone desecrates a Bible, that is just free speech
If someone publishes a photograph of a crucifix in urine, it is not only free speech, it is art.
Holy Christian symbols are desecrated and Christ is insulted routinely.
The reaction of the Christian faithful ranges from condemnation to apathy, to praying for the souls of the misguided who do such things.
Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last profit of God, a great man, the founder of the one true religion.
Christians believe that Christ is one-third of the trinity that we worship as God.
The followers of a profit kill when the profit is insulted.
The followers of Christ are indignant, apathetic, or pray when God is insulted.
People who believe in the freedom of speech understand that freedom is to protect insulting speech.
Polite speech requires no protection at all.
Insulting speech and unpleasant ideas are just part of an intellectual free market.
How can truth ever be found if beliefs are never challenged?
To me, God is all-powerful, all-powerful; present everywhere, and knowing (omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient).
While I believe that we humans can merit punishment for our behavior, the idea that we humans can insult God is as preposterous as a dog being able to insult its master.
To be insulted, you have to be willing to be insulted.
I have asked these questions of a Muslim friend of mine. I will be very interested to read his answers.
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