Free Speech … for Some, but Not for You

The murders of a dozen people in Paris this week puts a bloody underline beneath the fact that much of the world’s population not only isn’t free, but actually is so fearful that they reject the very concept of freedom.

The cultural clash between Western ideals and Muslim backwardness is never more apparent than in the howling of Muslim mobs about real or imagined “insults” to their so-called prophet Mohammed.

In Paris, the anti-freedom derangement that afflicts so many Muslim minds ended in bloodshed and weapons fire.

It’s difficult for many people raised in the Christianized West to imagine a culture in which speaking freely is a sin but murder is OK.

But that’s the Muslim mindset, and it shouldn’t be surprising coming from a religious system whose very name, Islam, can be translated as “submit.” Spiritual and sometimes physical enslavement, and the barbarity that enforces it, are the natural order of things under Islam.

In the West, it’s almost the exact opposite. Speech is indulged, even to the point of allowing speech that literally advocates treason were it to be taken seriously. Murder, on the other hand, is the most serious offense. Because of our own ethnocentricity, this seems perfectly natural and normal to us.

But how far removed are we really from the repressive, tyrannical whims of Islam?

Under Islam or in the West, there is always free speech for people who toe the party line of those in charge. In Muslim countries, you can sing the praises of Allah and Mohammed all you like. In America, you can heap honors upon President Obama and liberal causes without any real fear of punishment, unless you consider angry conservative blog posts punishment.

But step outside the boundaries of the prescribed opinions and there’s hell to pay.

The difference is Islam goes from zero to head chopping in a matter of seconds. In the western world, we’re a bit more systematic usually. First, you get the insults: idiot, wing nut, racist, homophobe, etc. Then you get the intimidation: threatening phone calls, vandalism, demonstrations outside your office, official investigations, government harassment. Last comes the punishment: your career takes a sudden downturn, you’re fired, you’re singled out by the media, your house is illegally searched, you’re arrested on trumped-up charges, etc.

Just recently, for example, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was suspended then fired for writing a book about biblical values, part of which was not supportive of homosexuality. Mayor Kasim Reed finally fired Cochran, even going so far as to pluck a Bible quote to justify the political destruction of a man’s livelihood over a book examining biblical morality.

Shortly after Tuesday’s murders in Paris, the head of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, was hitting the media circuit to basically blame the murder victims for their own deaths, calling the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists “pornographers described as satirists” because of their ridiculing of Islam.

He went on to say, “People have a legal right to insult my religion or somebody else’s, they don’t have a moral right to do so.”

On the one hand, there may be several things to say about arrogant artists and religion. On the other hand, Donohue is essentially saying there’s a moral defense for Islamist slayings of a dozen people. You can’t help but wonder how far that concept extends, especially in a week when Boko Haram in Nigeria killed more than 2,000 people in one day.

Given the facts of recent history, media concerns about a “backlash” against Muslims are disingenuous, sophomoric and naive. We cannot shut down or restrict free speech and pretend we don’t know who is behind the Charlie Hibdo murders and a hundred other such events in past decades.

To paraphrase Walter White (“Breaking Bad”), Muslims are not in danger of receiving a villainous knock on the door in the middle of the night; they are the ones who knock.

It’s up to the rest of us to keep speaking up about it.