Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cartoon Violence

As the Muslim world continues to torch embassies, attack and kill Christians and threaten murder on any and all associated with the "blasphemy" of putting ink on paper in patterns that perhaps suggest the way a man who lived in the sixth century might have looked, I'm beginning to lose my patience, and perhaps my tolerance. I'd like to let Muslims live freely and decide their own fates and practice their religion as they choose, but I just don't know if I can anymore. Perhaps the western media isn't reporting it, but I don't see much evidence of mainstream Muslims condemning the actions of the terrorists in their midst. I want to be progressive and rational and thoughtful; but when I see what vast numbers of Muslim people are doing in the world - and hear what they threaten to do - it makes me want to...well, I don't even feel comfortable saying what it makes me want to do.

In the meantime, go to (sorry, couldn't get the link to work) and search for a piece by Christopher Hitchens from February 4. It's one of the most impassioned pieces I've read on the subject. Here's an excerpt:

"The innate human revulsion against desecration is much older than any monotheism: Its most powerful expression is in the Antigone of Sophocles. It belongs to civilization. I am not asking for the right to slaughter a pig in a synagogue or mosque or to relieve myself on a "holy" book. But I will not be told I can't eat pork, and I will not respect those who burn books on a regular basis. I, too, have strong convictions and beliefs and value the Enlightenment above any priesthood or any sacred fetish-object. It is revolting to me to breathe the same air as wafts from the exhalations of the madrasahs, or the reeking fumes of the suicide-murderers, or the sermons of Billy Graham and Joseph Ratzinger. But these same principles of mine also prevent me from wreaking random violence on the nearest church, or kidnapping a Muslim at random and holding him hostage, or violating diplomatic immunity by attacking the embassy or the envoys of even the most despotic Islamic state, or making a moronic spectacle of myself threatening blood and fire to faraway individuals who may have hurt my feelings. The babyish rumor-fueled tantrums that erupt all the time, especially in the Islamic world, show yet again that faith belongs to the spoiled and selfish childhood of our species."

I'd exchange Pat Robertson for Billy Graham, but other than that, I think he's pretty right on.

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