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February 08, 2007

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"I thought the following: (1) the newspaper was just being pointlessly rude when it decided to hold what is, to Muslims, a blasphemy contest. It would have been different had there been some compelling reason to publish cartoons about Muhammed."

The newspaper commissioned it in response to charges that artists were afraid of violence and thus wouldn't make depictions that they would otherwise be willing to make (i.e. in a children's book). They unfortunately illustrated that the fear of violence was well grounded.

Sebastian, is that intended as a defense of the contest?

"Or so I've found."

Indeed.

mounting campaigns against Sponge-Bob Square Pants and Tinky-Winky.

For some reason, that just struck me as incredibly funny.

Carry on.

Seb: I wouldn't hold a "let's insult Sebastian; actually, let's try as hard as we can to say things that Sebastian will find deeply offensive, because people are afraid that if we provoke Sebastian he will beat us up" contest. I never really saw how this was different -- except in that at least you know me, and would have some context to place it in, and also that at least here, any such contest would devolve into jokes (the imaginary Thullen contribution alone would be worth it all, actually) and thus be less likely to cause deep offense.

my bigger concern is this sort of de-legitimizes a lot of liberals' arguments about how bush/etc. associate themselves with loathsome people like limbaugh, hannity, etc. i'm not comparing marcotte to those people, but some of anti-catholic posts are as anti-catholic as limbaugh's were anti-liberal.

in other words, the question is this -- how you can you demand that bush not associate himself with hannity, while at the same time associating yourself -- and fighting for -- marcotte. it'd be different if marcotte's posts were thoughtful, or paradigm-shattering satire or something. but they're just tantrums with a thesaurus. (again, i exclude shakes from this)

this is a problem i think.

I have to chime in here on another distinction: was Amanda's stuff really gratuitiously offensive? Taken out of context, you could make the case that it was, but was it really? She fears religion, and I don't think that's an unreasonable thing at all; Christianity and Islam - in their State, or quasi-State, forms - positively ooze a remarkably piquant, even toxic, hypocrisy right now. You can't really indict her for noticing and rebelling, including somewhat viscerally. There are good practical *reasons* to have freedom of speech and press, and the biggest is what could loosely be called '(earthly) priests'. A really free society - and also a true believer - wouldn't/don't fear Amanda's ridicule. I don't know what the deal was with the Danish newspaper; hilzoy's ethical workup sounds very good to me. But freedom of speech is the absolutely vital requisite, and we can't forget it. Hilzoy touched on this point in the other thread when she hoped that the Bloggers In Question wouldn't react one way or another to the kerfufflette.

Furthermore, the Danish paper was defending, in a clumsy and self-defeating way perhaps, The fundamental freedom. If you think about how young European muslims might have felt about it, it's possible that some reacted the way some did for the very fact that it *was* clumsy and self-defeating; weak; decadent; shallow; a 'crappy show'; not credible, etc. Liberalism is indeed under attack in the world, and the US government's reaction is....to also attack Liberalism. It's mind-blowing.

how you can you demand that bush not associate himself with hannity, while at the same time associating yourself -- and fighting for -- marcotte

Hannity's views are his professional views. President Bush meets with Hannity to solicit, I suppose, advice. Up until now, Marcotte was an amateur blogger. Her new job will be to facilitate communication b/w the campaign of John Edwards (spelled it correctly this time, Gary) and the "netroots". In others, it her job to communicate her employers views.

Judging her in that capacity, and Leon Wolf, starts now.

In others, it

That should read "in other words"

jb -- i was thinking of developing a post to flesh some of that out. anyway, one argument for marcotte is that extreme, radical speech is vital because it shifts the poles of "respectable" debate. the liberal blogosphere has been important in that respect in that it's moved the "left" pole from where it was in 1999 at the height of broder wankery/impeachment/etc.

the thing is though is that there's a difference b/w radical, subversive speech and unthoughtful shrill rants. the question you have to ask yourself is what category marcotte falls into. if the only thing that matters is that she's ridiculing, then why isn't that enough for coulter too?

if she's changing the terms of debate by, say, rejecting the legitimacy of religion through her ridicule, that's one thing. but i don't get that vibe from her.

Disclosure: I'm a long-time Pandagon reader and commenter.

The comparison between Amanda and the Danish cartoonists is invalid because the power dynamic is different. Amanda is a forthright atheist living in a deeply Christian culture; she is a feminist living in a substantially patriarchal culture. Mockery has been one way for her to assert the reality of her life against a culture that says she shouldn't really exist, or if she exists she shouldn't be so uppity about it.

The Danish cartoonists were rude and disrespectful, but they were not uppity -- they were not trying to subvert an oppressive power relationship within their own society. But sometimes you gotta be uppity, and uppity is *always* rude.

I should add that I have never found Amanda's writing to be unreadably insulting, though she's sometimes a bit *young*. More important, in my experience she always listens to (reasonable) counter-arguments, and frequently adjusts her views in response. That last point alone is enough to put her completely outside the ranks of Limbaugh, Hannity, and their ilk.

Re: criticing Bush for associating with Limbaugh and coulter, but not Edwards for hiring Marcotte. I can see your point and I wish this exact rightwing Noise Aattck wasn't the one that galvinnized a concerted pushback. The ongoing smear of Pelosi, the attck on Barbara Boxer, the humiliation of Durbin, the smears on Kerry, the ridicule aimed at Dean, the repeated accusation of cowardice or the "emboldenning of the enemy" that is standard fare of Republicans in Congress--any of these examples of rightwinng bullying could have, and maybe should have, set off a pushback like this attack on Marcotte did.
I am just sick of it.

I can't stop the Noise Machine but I can express my frustration with Democrats who don't stand up to it. I am sick of Democrats apologizing for minor stuff most of which isnn't even real whhen I am not aware of anny promenent Republicans apologizing for any of thhe despicable behavior their party has inndulged in over thhe last twenty years.
So I don't care if the pushback came over the wrong issue. The only Democrats that I am willing to consider for thhe candidacy of Preseident are thhe onnes tht hhave the guts to fight back.

I don't think that Edwards should have hired Marcotte. That was, in my mind, an error judgement. However the left blogstorm wasn't in defense of his decsion to hire her. It was in opposition to him firing her. It was opposition to Edwards beinng held to a higher standard than MMcCain by a lazy irresponsible unprofessionnal press corp that was being used once again to bully a Democratic politician. It was oppositionto thhat Democrat caving into thhe bullying.
The Noise Machine won't stop but it can be made to look silly and impotent if Democrats stop respondinng to it. I hope this incident was a lesson to the othher candidates on how to responnd to thhe attacks thhey will get: don't back down.

lily - as i wrote earlier, I agree. but when does that end. and why can't bush justify meeting hannity on precisely the same terms (i.e., well, you can't stop now or you'll show weakness).

my fear is that every time greenwald or whoever writes a post criticizing a conserv politician for associating with falwell, etc., the response will be marcotte. it won't matter politically -- it's a moral-ground-of-the-blogosphere point

Hilzoy: (4a) Had I been the government of Denmark, I would absolutely have supported the right of cartoonists to draw pictures of whatever they want. (4b) I would also have apologized to Muslims for any offense.

Why would you, the state, apologize to Muslims (and presumably Muslim states) for your citizens exercising their free speech rights, rights you presumably uphold? The state either respects the law and follows the law or it subscribes to another view, in which case the cartoonists have bigger things to worry about than anonymous threats to their persons. If I were an editor I wouldn’t apologize to Christians for a satirical contest. Muslims, being regarded as equal under law in every way, have every reason to expect the same non-response.

The cartoons were blown out of proportion. Several of the protests, if not all of them, were spurred on by state-run newspapers if not organized by the states themselves. Apologizing to states would legitimize their dysfunctional governments. Apologizing to Danish Muslims would legitimize their intellectually prudish double-standards.

how you can you demand that bush not associate himself with hannity, while at the same time associating yourself -- and fighting for -- marcotte.

Hilzoy's post is about people glossing over categorical differences, and such a difference here is obvious. And for that matter, I wouldn't demand that Bush not associate himself with his own propaganda partner. Let him. The anxiety here is about having a 'neutral' press or a more european type. I would like an independent press, but a 'neutral' one isn't working out too well.

This is something which makes liberals uneasy about Edwards: after Bush, we are scared of someone who might blur the lines, someone who might be an advocate. It's really a bad mistake. There's a similar unease about Obama. Our two best candidates. Gee. Why is that? Because liberals are the only conservatives left. The Movement has sifted the old right conservatism into a more pure authoritarianism (unfortunately), and the liberals end up having to be both conservative and liberal. Dems have flubbed it a lot in the past, but actually, it's a great deal for us in the end - if we have some sort of conviction.

Lesly: I think it's generally OK to apologize for rudeness. In this case, the state was not itself rude, but its citizens were. As I said, I'd defend their right to be rude against all opposition, but I don't think that's incompatible with acknowledging that it was, in fact, offensive to Muslims.

Spartikus, you seem to be saying that everyone should be judged as a blank slate starting at the moment of hiring. Then if McCain hired Charles Johnson, it would be unfair to assume that said anything at all about McCain. We'd have to wait to see what Johnson did after he was hired. That's certainly not the way it would work, and it's not the way it should work, as far as I'm concerned.

It was not unfair of people to analyze Marcotte's writings and treat them as reflecting somewhat on Edwards. He hired her as a blogger, so her blogging is relevant. If she'd been hired as a chauffeur, then her blogging wouldn't have been relevant.

Lying about Marcotte's actions and misrepresenting her work are of course unfair.

The fact that I believe it's fair for people to criticize of course does not mean that I must agree with their criticisms.

Spartikus, you seem to be saying that everyone should be judged as a blank slate starting at the moment of hiring.

Within reason. To my knowledge prior to employment Marcotte hadn't done anything criminal or, unlike Ben Domenech, unethical.

Then if McCain hired Charles Johnson

As you point out, that would depend on what he was hired to do, wouldn't it? If he was McCain's adviser, certainly. If he simply built McCain's website and kept his views to himself, then what's the big deal. Whatever I may think of Charles Johnson, and believe it's not a lot, LGF is a big, very active community and he built it and has a great deal of technical expertise.

He hired her as a blogger, so her blogging is relevant.

Maybe I'm confused as to what she was supposed to be doing, but I was under the impression she was hired b/c she understood how blogging and blogging communities work, and would "facilitate" b/w them and the campaign. ie. Her professional blogging will be to communicate John Edwards positions, not her own.

She's on payroll now, and Edwards is responsible for them.

Pub: if she's changing the terms of debate by, say, rejecting the legitimacy of religion through her ridicule, that's one thing. but i don't get that vibe from her.

You probably have a point. But it's all about context. If Hannity or El Rushbo were bloggers, and they said controversial things but ultimately showed some formal respect for people who might not like what they blogged (by joining a campaign, for instance - by being open advocates), you'd have a match. But those guys remorelessly and utterly unapologetically spew (nominally 'fair and balanced') horseshit every day to big audiences on tv and radio - and there's no respect shown for *anyone*. It's schtick. Not a match, IMO.

No, that was not at all the point in publishing the Mohammed cartoons, and I suspect you know it.

The point was to demonstrate the reaction of some Muslims to that publishing. To demonstrate the West's self-censorship and cowardice and to demonstrate the effects of violent intimidation.

The exercise was most successful in demonstrating those things and one could write a book (some have) about why you seek to deny it.

"I wouldn't hold a "let's insult Sebastian; actually, let's try as hard as we can to say things that Sebastian will find deeply offensive, because people are afraid that if we provoke Sebastian he will beat us up" contest."

But that isn't how it happened. It was sparked by the fact that somebody couldn't get anyone to draw a picture of the prophet for (I believe) an artistic representation in a children's book. Piss Christ was deliberately offensive art. Though the artist pretends otherwise, Dung Virgin Mary was deliberately offensive art. Yet it is also totally acceptable art.

Actually Sebastian, there is a long history of Jyllands-Posten being anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant, so the drawings didn't appear in as clear a context as you make it sound. Also, Jyllands-Posten said at the time, that they wanted to show that the sacret cows of Islam was not sacret in Denmark - fair enough, but then they shouldn't be suprised when people in societies where they are sacret get offended.

It was quite possible to raise the debate about the drawings in the childrens' book, without going out of the way to offend people.

And it is worth noticing that Jyllands-Posten had in the past turned down drawings that they though mocked Christ, so they didn't offend their readers.

I find both the Muslim fanatics and Jyllands-Posten repulsive in general, and especially in this situation.

Hilzoy: Thank you. *bookmarks post* This is a wonderful clear articulate outline of how I feel about the difference between the Danish cartoons and Marcotte's two-line quip.

I don't see that the differnce in power dynamics is anything like as clear as Doctor Science argues. The problem is that there were two different power dynamics involved in the Danish cartoons: a national and an international one. At the international level the cartoonists might feel they were liberal heroes faced against the vast menacing forces of Islam. At the national level they were picking on a small minority group. And some of the cartoonists were deliberately picking on Muslims as a whole. If you publish a picture showing Muhammed with a bomb in his turban, you are surely implying that Islam is intrinsically violent/pro-terrorist. If they'd done a cartoon of Moses killing a Palestianian child, because children have sometimes been killed by Israeli soldiers, would that have been seen as acceptable free speech? How big would the US protests have been if there had been a cartoon of Christ bombing an abortion clinic (justified by the cartoonist because some Christians have done that)?

Magistra: How big would the US protests have been if there had been a cartoon of Christ bombing an abortion clinic (justified by the cartoonist because some Christians have done that)?

.....

Actually, I wonder how big the US protests would have been if there had been a cartoon of Christ escorting a pregnant woman into an abortion clinic, protecting her from the pro-life protesters? Bit difficult to get across in a line drawing, but... either idea makes me wish I could draw!

Speaking as someone who was in the Arab world at the time, the Danish cartoonists and, the muppets who imitated them in the US, deserve a good beating. It's easy to be provocative when someone else's hoo-hah and delicates are in the firing line. If some of those guys had strolled around downtown Damascus, Hebron or Algiers with their artwork I would have been more impressed.


if she's changing the terms of debate by, say, rejecting the legitimacy of religion through her ridicule, that's one thing. but i don't get that vibe from her.

And yet, that's exactly the vibe I *do* get -- as when she equates the Christianity (or Islam) with the Worship of the Sparkly Disco Ball, while acknowledging the equal status of the Flying Spagetti Monster.

Hilzoy: First, I did not bring the cartoons into it at all – that was spartikus.

In response to Donald Johnson:
I meant to say that Christians and Muslims and secular people with strong convictions on this or that should get used to the idea that their sacred beliefs are fair game for crude jokes.

I said this:
You mentioned Muslims so let’s expand on that. What if her remarks had concerned Allah and Mohammed and a certain underage bride and had been as detailed and crass. What if it was CAIR calling for them to be canned?
Would the left have been as supportive? Would the outcome have been the same?

About the time I hit post I had a bit of an epiphany. This whole thing had really bugged me, but I could not put my finger on exactly why. I am not Catholic, I am not religious. So why should it bother me?

I thought that the netroots’ defense of her was a bit over the top (ACTION ALERT blah blah). How much fun did the lefty blogs have with HH and company and their petition threatening to withhold donations from Republicans who voted for the non-binding resolution? This struck me as very much the same thing. If you fire her them you not only lose our support we will work against you…

Still – why did it bother me? About the time I hit post I realized why. If those kind of crass remarks had been made about Islam, and it was in any way connected to a Presidential candidate, and it hit the MSM – the outcome would have been vastly different.

Now, my follow up comments weren’t entirely coherent I admit. I get up at 5 and work 12-14 hour days. I’m pretty tired by that time of the evening and should probably avoid commenting after about 6PM.

This was over the top and didn’t make much sense:
But this country was founded on religious freedom – and it seems we no longer have that.

It’s not really about religious freedom – it’s about freedom of speech. Christianity or Judaism are fair game for the vilest of remarks. No penalty attaches. Islam is more and more off limits though.

I stand by the rest of it:
If it came to light that a staffer of a Presidential candidate had publicly written something as crass about Islam (Allah, Muhammad, 9 year old bride, hot white sticky something) and the episode made it into the MSM (it wouldn’t of course, they wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole) the following would be the result:

-CAIR would have had a press release out in hours calling for their firing and Edwards’ apology.
-Muslims would have protested in Detroit and Conyers would have publicly denounced the bloggers and called on Edwards to do something.
-“Prominent clerics” here and worldwide would have denounced Edwards until he complied.
-She would have been in actual physical danger.
-He would have had NO hope of being president in this day and time without throwing them under the bus and groveling a good bit.

At the very least, the very least – he would have canned them, apologized for not vetting them, and lost a half day meeting with CAIR and other representatives for some sensitivity training.

Anyone who doubts that (the general outline, not necessarily the specifics) has not been paying very close attention these last few years.

Note: I have not read the comments on yesterday’s thread yet (after I signed off) much less the comments on this post. If there are more specifics for me to respond to I’ll do my best but it may have to wait until tomorrow.

OCSteve: If those kind of crass remarks had been made about Islam, and it was in any way connected to a Presidential candidate, and it hit the MSM – the outcome would have been vastly different.

Yes: for a start, the right-wing blogosphere would have been loud in the defense of the crass remarks, and some of them would have been competing for who can make crasser remarks about Islam. Islam is the only Abrahamic religion about which right-wing Christians in the US feel free to be completely bigoted, in the certainty that no one whose opinion they care about will ever call them on it.

Christianity or Judaism are fair game for the vilest of remarks. No penalty attaches. Islam is more and more off limits though.

This comment is so much in reverse of reality that I can't believe you could actually bring yourself to type it. Did you happen to miss the controversy over Keith Ellison's choice of religious text to take oath on? That's just the most recent, most public example I can think of: the assertion that if Ellison were "allowed" to use the Qu'ran, this would undermine American civilization.

And, I am prepared to bet that not one of the blogs who took up this idea and howled in its favor argued that Amanda Marcotte had a perfect right to diss Catholic theology if she felt like it.

I'm always astouned how fast US liberals denounce our basic freedoms under the PC banner.

IF the Jyllandsposten cartoons had been about christianity in a similar way, any objection to them would have been called misguided and dangerous.

It is simply a massively unfair double standard you hold the cartoonists to. This double standard is unfortunately coupled with a similary massive ignorance about the subject matter. If you haven't seen the cartoons and read the accompanying article, please don't bother us with your opinion on the matter. It is simply uninformed.

At least we know the true allies in the fight for real liberal democracy is neither New Labour Britain nor the US (either PC liberal or christianist right), but instead solidly democratic Old Europe countries like Germany and France.

The rest of you would sell your own grandmother, if it made you seem tolerant and progressive.

/Limagolf

Limagolf: IF the Jyllandsposten cartoons had been about christianity in a similar way, any objection to them would have been called misguided and dangerous.

Gee, how clever you are to know about things that never happened.

Criticizing what someone says, or suggesting that saying it might not be a good idea, is not "denounc[ing] our basic freedoms" -- it's exercising free speech. Defending the rights of Nazis to march in Skokie doesn't require that I march with them or embrace their views.

Similarly, if I say that I think it was a bad idea for Edwards to hire Marcotte, that doesn't mean that I think she should be censored. It doesn't even necessarily mean that I disagree with anything she said.

Jes: This comment is so much in reverse of reality that I can't believe you could actually bring yourself to type it. Did you happen to miss the controversy over Keith Ellison's choice of religious text to take oath on?

What penalty resulted? I didn’t say “no controversy”. He went ahead with it, even used Jefferson’s Koran and managed to spin it that Jefferson was pro-Islam. He’s a hero for not folding. What penalty attached?

And anti-Semitic remarks might draw a press release from the ADL. Big whoop.

I think, if there had been remarks that could be construed as blatantly anti-islamic, the right wingers would have gone into double-think overdrive*. They would have, in my opinion, both denounced Islam and Edwards for being anti-religion.

*similar to the common pro-Israel antisemitism one can find in parts of the Kristian(C) Right

OCSteve, I don't understand why you think an ADL press release is insignificant and a CAIR press release is supremely important and possibly a threat to free speech. Do you believe that Jewish (or Christian) groups have less influence in American politics than Muslim groups? How did we end up in Iraq then?

I also think you should consider how the reaction to mocking of the dominant culture might reasonably differ from the reaction to mocking of a minority group. Perhaps "anti-Christian" statements don't spark sufficient outrage for you, but I disagree that antisemitism is viewed as no big deal.

OCSteve: What penalty resulted? I didn’t say “no controversy”.

Oh, well, penalty. Then please tell me what penalty resulted for the US newspapers/magazines that reprinted the Danish cartoons, Steve, and we'll talk.

Do you believe that Jewish (or Christian) groups have less influence in American politics than Muslim groups?

It’s not the PR per say, but what might follow it, and not so much here in the US.

You are correct in that someone of note might say something dumb that is taken as anti-Semitic. ADL might call them on it. It gets some press, and someone of note issues a retraction and an apology.

It’s not really about religious freedom – it’s about freedom of speech. Christianity or Judaism are fair game for the vilest of remarks.

The mere suggestion, recently, by Matthew Ygelsias and Wesley Clark that some influential American Jewish political groups were pushing behind-the-scenes for a war with Iran got them tagged as anti-Semites by Jonah Goldberg and the Noise Machine.*
Given that, I'm not sure how your statement above comports with reality, but, well, there it is.

* I have all their albums.


Sebastian: Piss Christ was deliberately offensive art.

No, it wasn't.

Though the artist pretends otherwise, Dung Virgin Mary was deliberately offensive art.

No, it wasn't, and 15 yards for "pretends," which you are not in a position to know.

And Steve, if you think that "no penalty attaches" for saying "the vilest things about Judaism," explain Mel Gibson. And if you think it's also true re: Christianity, explain John Lennon.

Then please tell me what penalty resulted for the US newspapers/magazines that reprinted the Danish cartoons, Steve, and we'll talk.

Again – my rant does not have anything to do with the cartoons and never did.

But since you asked…

I don’t believe any American paper published all of them. Some published one or even two of them. Some that did publish one actually blurred it, as if it was too graphic to show the detail.

But for the most part, they just wrote editorials about why they didn’t have the guts to publish them. Did the UK media publish any at all? I don’t recall that they did (obviously you would know better so I stand to be corrected.)

For the most part, American papers were too intimidated to publish them.

"She fears religion, and I don't think that's an unreasonable thing at all; Christianity and Islam - in their State, or quasi-State, forms - positively ooze a remarkably piquant, even toxic, hypocrisy right now. You can't really indict her for noticing and rebelling, including somewhat viscerally. There are good practical *reasons* to have freedom of speech and press, and the biggest is what could loosely be called '(earthly) priests'. "

That was jonnybutter, speaking about Amanda. I think this conflates two different things that Amanda did. I skimmed through links to her stuff. Some of it seemed harsh, but fair, and some of it seemed like gratuitous childish insults to me. It was fair to criticize the dishonest claims being made about contraception and even to point out what Amanda thinks are contradictions between being in favor of natural family planning and the Pill. (I agreed with all that, not that this matters.) Where she crossed the line, IMO, was in the Virgin Mary joke. She has the right to say these things in public or private--free speech isn't the issue. But that comment would disgust any Christian, I think. Some of us would feel personally insulted, while others of us would regard it with contempt--it's the kind of thing you'd expect from a teenager trying to shock his parents just for the fun of it. I have friends who make jokes like this in private--I know them well enough to know they don't really think all Christians are mentally challenged morons for believing in the sky god who came down and impregnated a Middle Eastern peasant woman and I don't think people should constantly be policing their own thoughts about how ridiculous other people's opinions seem to them. Political correctness and sensitivity all the time can be a little boring and I appreciate the fact that they feel they can say stupid things in front of me. (Besides, I know they'll burn for it someday.) But I know they'll admit they don't know why Christians believe what they believe, but Christianity has in fact a mixed historical record (it's not all crusades all the time, you know) and many Christians seem like decent sane people to them. In contrast to someone like Dawkins, who strikes me as someone who thinks that in a well-run society theists would be given the psychiatric treatment they so obviously need. I don't read Amanda and don't know what category she falls into, but when someone makes that kind of joke in public I assume this is a person who is too wrapped up in her own thoughts to care much about who she offends. This isn't a compliment. (To repeat what I said yesterday, I also think that Edwards handled it correctly, and that the whole thing should blow over.)

As for the Muslim comparison, it's different in various aspects. Anti-Muslim jokes tend to lead to violence. On the one hand (the right one, though some liberals also point this out), a fair number of Muslims still live in a world where they think it's acceptable to murder people for blasphemy. And on the other hand, anti-Muslim jokes encourage an atmosphere of anti-Muslim violence, both on the individual level and on a larger scale. People have the right to insult Islam if they want, but maybe they should voluntarily restrict themselves to reasoned criticism, something which might possibly incite violence, but which can't be helped. I think hilzoy examined all the angles I might have thought of and a few extra ones and pretty much said what I would have said if I had thought of it.

To be clear, one of the things some Muslims should be criticized about is precisely the belief that rioting over blasphemy is a morally justifiable reaction.

You are correct in that someone of note might say something dumb that is taken as anti-Semitic. ADL might call them on it. It gets some press, and someone of note issues a retraction and an apology.
And if, for one example among many, a member of Congress talks about bombing Mecca, what happens? Was he forced to resign? Did a mob of Muslims burn down his office?

Several American newspapers, like the Philly Inquirer, published one or two of the cartoons so people could assess the controversy for themselves. I don't see a sound journalistic reason to reprint all of the cartoons, although one could certainly do so to make a political statement or to be inflammatory.

if you think that "no penalty attaches" for saying "the vilest things about Judaism," explain Mel Gibson.

Offered two apologies. Had to prostrate himself on 20/20. His next movie release was a blockbuster. It was not boycotted, he was not blacklisted, wasn’t stabbed in the street.

And if you think it's also true re: Christianity, explain John Lennon.

Now he was killed in the street by a born-again whacko, quite likely due to his remark, "We're more popular than Jesus Christ now". Chapman was found to be criminally insane. Was his action connected to indoctrination by a Christian church? Could have been I guess…

OCSteve, I'm trying to get you to show actual examples of what you claim is a distinct double standard that renders Islam immune from criticism.

What penalty attached to Dennis Prager - or any of the right-wingers who took up the hunt he started - for his vile claim that for a Muslim Congressman to carry a Qu'ran would "undermine American civilisation"? Has he lost his job? Has he been widely criticised? Has anyone demanded that TownHall.com "distance" themselves from him? Have any of the right-wing commentariat who who supported this vile suggestion suffered by it? (Did Ann Coulter suffer any penalty in the five years since she suggested: 'We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.'? Aside, that is, from having to be Ann Coulter?)

As for the cartoons - can you offer any actual examples of intimidation of US newspapers? I believe you when you say you read all these op-eds by American newspaper editors saying they were too scared to publish them: but what examples of threats or direct intimidation did they offer to explain their terror? (For a run-down on what major UK papers said was their reasoning in not publishing them, here - or here for direct quotes, but you have to register.)

You're claiming that there's some kind of systematic penalization going on in the US whenever someone criticizes Islam. Yet you don't seem to be able to provide any actual examples of this penalization, though I can point you to more examples than Prager or Coulter where public US figures have said vile things about Islam, and do not appear to have suffered any penalty.

Oh yes, and tell me what penalty Glenn Beck suffered for saying to a newly-elected Congressman "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies" because that Congressman is a Muslim? Any?

"Though the artist pretends otherwise, Dung Virgin Mary was deliberately offensive art."

This is a lot of dung. I looked into this back when the fuss arose, because I grew up with the Brooklyn Museum, was a docent there as an adolescent, and a volunteer teacher of young kids, and had a variety of other gigs, so years later when Giuliani began his usual historics, and attempt to censor, I wanted to know what was going on.

Chris Ofili, who is Nigerian, has been working with dung his entire career. Unless he spent decades working up a cover before launching on his plot, your claim is mistaken.

[...] In 1992 he won a scholarship which allowed him to travel to Zimbabwe. Ofili, who is of Nigerian descent, studied cave paintings there which had some effect on his style. Though Ofili's detractors often state that he "splatters" elephant dung (a substance which is used in a variety of rituals in Africa) on his pictures, this is inaccurate: he sometimes applies it directly to the canvas in the form of dried spherical lumps, and sometimes, in the same form, uses it as foot-like supports on which the paintings stand.

Ofili's painting also references blaxploitation films and gangsta rap often to question racial and sexual stereotypes in a humorous way. His work is often built up in layers of paint, resin, glitter, dung and other materials to create a collage.

That's what he does. The fuss about one of his typical works was manufactured outrage. The same old story.

The Giuliani attack was in 1999. Here">http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/225737.stm">Here is a 1998 profile of Ofili:

In 1992, he was awarded a British Council travel scholarship to Zimbabwe - a visit which has had a lasting impact on his painting.

As a black Briton of Nigerian descent, that first visit to Africa encouraged him to reconsider his own identity and to develop a highly personal aesthetic through which he examines issues of black culture, imagery and sexual stereotyping.

His work draws on a wide range of cultural references and popular material, from 1970s comics to contemporary black music and pornographic magazines, elements which he combines with humour, subversion and an innovative approach to the use of painting as a medium.

During his stay in Africa, Ofili began to incorporate lumps of elephant dung into his canvases - both as compositional elements and as supports on which to display his paintings.

He says this is a way of - quite literally - incorporating Africa into his work.

Ancient cave paintings of Zimbabwe, with their images composed of decorative dots, have helped evolve Ofili's painting style which combines richly-coloured patterning with collage and three-dimensional elements.

Works such as Afrodizzia (1996) and Blossom (1997) are characteristic examples of his style.

Presumably, after his deliberate attempt to offend Catholics, Ofili used his time machine to travel backwards, and set up his entire career for decades earlier, to provide an alibi for plotting his entire life to use dung to insult the Virgin Mary.

I suggest reconsidering this claim.

Do most people here live in Never Never Land?

Look, you can't possibly deal with the issue that Marcotte, in particular, raises, without coming to grips with the exact pernicious content of what she has said. Nearly everybody, at least on this thread, seems to want walk around that content as if it's bad form to quote it.

Yet let's take this now notorious example:

"Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit? A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology."

Now I wonder how many people on this thread even have a concept of how sacrilegious and outrageous this comment is to a pious Catholic? How many have ever been religious enough in their lives that they might appreciate the impact of such a statement? Marcotte's current assertion, that she never intended to malign anyone's religious beliefs, could hardly be more disingenuous. In fact, and obviously, the comment was precisely designed to be as insulting to the Catholic faith as her rather limited creative powers could manage. In fact, that quote is so very toxic, that even without any use of profane words, it simply can't be quoted in mainstream publications; that would probably be a scandal in its own right. Isn't that a pretty good sign of how badly it would be received? Calling the comment merely "silly", as at least one blogger here has done, doesn't exactly do it justice.

Now it is obvious to those who have taken up residence outside of Never Never Land that it would be a major blunder for a politician seeking the votes of a nation with a large Catholic/Christian community to hire, or even to keep on, someone who had made such a statement publicly.

It's pretty clear, however, that in the narrow provinces of the academic and "intellectual" community, this realization has not really dawned, and probably never will.

Please, if you're going to defend Marcotte, how about actually quoting the comment and explaining to us all why it won't deeply offend a large block of voters, and why it doesn't present a political problem for a politician who has chosen to hire this person?

Otherwise, maybe shut up, and leave politics to people who have some understanding?

And, speaking of double standards, what do you think would happen if a Republican Presidential candidate were to HIRE Rush Limbaugh, in any capacity, on their campaign? Do people here truly believe that they would not rise up in howling protest? Isn't that the far more relevant "double standard" that is operating here? Given that the Danish cartoons were in a standard publication, and Marcotte's comments were in a blog, and basically the problem is the political one those comments pose for her employer, it's just strained to find any significant comparison between them. And really, who cares?

I am left wondering, though, how many here can manage the simple intellectual act of putting the shoe on the other foot. Pretty basic, I should imagine, to anyone who aspires to be a genuine thinker.

"I'm always astouned how fast US liberals denounce our basic freedoms under the PC banner."

Can you name some, please?

OCSteve: "What penalty resulted? I didn’t say 'no controversy'. He went ahead with it, even used Jefferson’s Koran and managed to spin it that Jefferson was pro-Islam. He’s a hero for not folding. What penalty attached?"

Non-stop attack from rightwingers; hate mail; denunciation across the nation on talk radio; infamy; a gazillion rightwing blog posts; a full Malkin; etc.

What was the penalty, in contrast, attached to Keith Goode?

KCinDC: "I also think you should consider how the reaction to mocking of the dominant culture might reasonably differ from the reaction to mocking of a minority group."

Exactly.

"You are correct in that someone of note might say something dumb that is taken as anti-Semitic. ADL might call them on it. It gets some press, and someone of note issues a retraction and an apology."

Or it might not be anti-Semitic, and they might never apologize at all.

OCSteve, please let me do you a favor: you're going down a rhetorical road at the moment in which you wind up trying to prove that -- actually, you're pretty much already at this point -- where you're trying to prove that Muslims in America are more privileged, less threatened, and are in a superior position to, Christians and Jews.

That's an argument you'll never be able to make fly, because it's insupportable. Don't put yourself in that corner.

"For the most part, American papers were too intimidated to publish them."

Unless you have testimony from editors or publishers to bring forward to demonstrate this, you are making a mind-reading claim.

Ten yard penalty.

franklyo: "Do most people here live in Never Never Land?"

And: "Otherwise, maybe shut up, and leave politics to people who have some understanding?"

You certainly have a sense of how to make friends and influence people.

frankly0: Now I wonder how many people on this thread even have a concept of how sacrilegious and outrageous this comment is to a pious Catholic?

If you define as "pious" someone who would find it "sacrilegious and outrageous", this is true but tautologous. Several Catholics said they didn't find it sacrilegious and outrageous. (And the most pious Catholic I know, a regular attender at Mass: she found it funny, though she agreed that she had at least two aunts who would find it outrageous, and her dad would find it outrageous that his daughter thought it was funny - even though he found it funny.)

if you think that "no penalty attaches" for saying "the vilest things about Judaism," explain Mel Gibson.

Offered two apologies. Had to prostrate himself on 20/20. His next movie release was a blockbuster. It was not boycotted, he was not blacklisted, wasn’t stabbed in the street.

Using Mel Gibson as an example that there's no penalty for anti-Semitism is an absurd claim; there's no doubt about that.

But Apocalypto bombed. It cost $40,000,000, and only grossed $50,222,634 (USA) (28 January 2007). It had a $15 million opening weekend, and the next weekend, it it dropped 46.6% to land in sixth place. Then it fell out of the top ten by the next weekend, and then wasn't running anywhere by the following weekend. That's a bomb, not a "blockbuster," unless you meant "blockbuster failure."

Frankly0: " How many have ever been religious enough in their lives that they might appreciate the impact of such a statement?"

I don't think anyone here would have to be, or to have been, religious in order to comment on this, but since you asked: I have. Religious enough to seriously consider becoming a nun (Episcopalians have nuns; I wasn't RC). Religious enough that I actually did St. Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises before going to high school. (And there are those who wonder why I wasn't popular.)

The quote you cite is the one that has always bothered me most, and that I had in mind when I wrote: "had I been Amanda, I would not have written those of her posts that ridiculed Christianity as a whole, not just those Christians who have made themselves legitimate targets of ridicule by e.g. mounting campaigns against Sponge-Bob Square Pants and Tinky-Winky." It is also, frankly, a post that, if I were running a political campaign and read it in advance, would have made me not hire her. It is obviously a post I would want to be sure would not be written by someone while she was on my payroll, and not just because I wouldn't want to offend Christian voters, but because it would offend me personally.

It is nonetheless not a post that, once I discovered it had been written by someone I was currently employing before she joined my campaign, would make me fire her.

What, other than your unfounded assumptions about the people in this discussion, do you find wrong with this view?

If you define as "pious" someone who would find it "sacrilegious and outrageous", this is true but tautologous.

What is this, word games? As if "pious" has no independent meaning.

And I'm sure that you know some Catholics who don't find it offensive. So what? How about the many Catholics who do, who, I'm sure, can be counted in the millions?

And, speaking of double standards, what do you think would happen if a Republican Presidential candidate were to HIRE Rush Limbaugh, in any capacity, on their campaign?
Of course there would be howls of protest, frankly0. But are you suggesting that the candidate would then fire Limbaugh, or even apologize? The vice president of the United States regularly appears on Limbaugh's show and in fact appears to prefer it to most other possible venues. Has he suffered any penalty for that? Has the glimmer of a shadow of a vague idea of an apology ever found its way into Cheney's conscious or unconscious mind?

I am pretty close to agreement with you about the offensiveness of Marcotte's comments and the disingenuousness of her apology, though.

What is this, word games? As if "pious" has no independent meaning

Pious does have an independent meaning, yes. But what did you mean by it?

hilzoy,

You say that you don't think the comment is enough to create grounds for firing Marcotte.

I can only say that if your "sacrilege" meter were well calibrated enough, and your political consequences calculus were sophisticated enough, you simply would think otherwise.

Except for the tantrum the blogosphere is now engaged in over Marcotte's firing, what could possibly be a sufficient reason for Edwards NOT to fire her?

I simply predict that Edwards will indeed fire her in due time. It's pretty obvious that this is going to play out VERY negatively for him. The upside of keeping her, even with the blogosphere mob muscling Edwards to retain her, is not going to balance the political downside of keeping her. Edwards can't gratuitously insult the faith of millions of voters, no matter what -- THAT is more important than being the darling of the rather idiot blogosphere.

Edwards can't gratuitously insult the faith of millions of voters

Edwards didn't. Get some perspective.

Jes: As for the cartoons - can you offer any actual examples of intimidation of US newspapers?

I’m not aware of any documented “direct threats”. But it is clear that intimidation played a part in at least some editors’ decision not to publish. Most of them spun it as sensitivity etc. At least one was brutally honest:

Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and . . . could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy. As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year-publishing history


Yet you don't seem to be able to provide any actual examples of this penalization

It is not as prevalent here yet as in other parts of the world - I'll grant you that. It does happen.

Thomas Klocek was summarily fired after students complained he had insulted their religion.

Michael Graham was fired for calling Islam "a terrorist organization."
I’ll try to find more examples when I have more time.

Can we go back to what I actually said – that there would have been much more of an uproar in the hypothetical I gave? Do you disagree with that?

Edwards didn't. Get some perspective.

OK, Edwards can't SEEM TO insult the faith of millions of voters.

Satisfied with the trivial revision?

frankly i think it's about damn time that the questioning the use of religious beliefs in politics has become acceptable. my hat's off to Dawkins and Marcotte to their efforts in moving Overton's Window.

if people want to pray to Odin, the Flying Spagetti Monster or various version of the Abrahamic god in the privacy of their bedrooms, fine by me.

but way too many religious people claim both (a) that their values should inculcate public debate; and (b) that the basis of these values is off-limits for purposes of discussion.

since this society apparently cannot have a rational discussion about the impact of religous values on matters of public concern, mockery appears to be the only other choice.

Satisfied with the trivial revision?

I don't think it's a particularily trivial distinction, and I'm finding your reaction, and the reaction of some Muslims to the Danish cartoons, to be different only in degree. It's all from the same branch of the tree, it seems to me.

There are confirmed quotes of Bill Donohue's circulating on the blogosphere which are anti-Semitic, anti-gay, and one where he clearly admits to trying to intimidate the judiciary.

As a Christian (I'm assuming) will you let this stand, or will actively try to destroy Bill Donohue's career like you are Amanda Marcotte's?

Frankly0, Edwards seems to some (including you) to have insulted the faith of millions of voters. That doesn't mean that millions of voters will think he's insulted their faith. Has any mainstream Christian organization (as opposed to a couple of antisemitic and/or anti-Muslim wackos) denounced Edwards?

To go waaay back to the point publious started with: i agree that if Democrats adopt a policy, as Republicans have, of never apologizing, that some day we Democrats may hhave to rein inn some out of control Democrtatic politicians. So OK, I think we can do tht. Look at Leiberman: the democrtaic rank annd file can get uppity with arrogant conceited jerks.
Right now the Republican politicians never apologize, noever explain, and are rarely asked to by a largely righhtwig media. Nobody inthe MMSm spends a week hysterically sqawking about Chheney's appearences on hannity annd thhere is no leftwing equivalent of hanity, Coulter, beck AND Limbaugh. For cryinng out loud inn this controversy a well established righhtwing bigot was used by thhe MSM to attack marcotte over onne paragraph! And the otherr blogger was attacked overr exactly nothinng..In this atmosphere Democrats have only two choices: let the bullies control the terms of debate or refuse to let them control thhe terms of debate. it's kind of like the Overton Winndon phenomenon: as long as Democrats keep apolpgizing and backing dowm annd Republicanns don't, they get to define thhe debate as between weak us and strong them. Democrats have to move thhe framework over to strong Democrats and childdish temperr-tantrumming impotent republicans before we can get back to some kinnd of balance. We won't get back to balance any other way.

Harper's Magazine also published the Danish cartoons, IIRC.

RE Piss Christ: Wikipedia has this:

Sister Wendy Beckett, an art critic, consecrated virgin and Catholic nun, voiced her approval of Piss Christ. She explained in a television interview with Bill Moyers that she regarded the work as a statement on "what we have done to Christ" - that is, the way contemporary society has come to regard Christ and the values he represents.

As for Andres Serrano, again according to Wikipedia, Serrano comes from a 'strict Roman Catholic background', placing his statement in an entirely different context than that of the Danish cartoonists - none of whom (AFAIK) are Muslim.

mockery appears to be the only other choice

Mockery is usually the first choice. I tend to interpret that as something like I can't be bothered to cobble together a decent argument, so I'm going to mock you, instead.

Compare and contrast that to, just to pick a random example, what hilzoy does. Yes, I know: we can't all be hilzoy. But those of us without the least dollop of skills in this particular arena should really have the grace to opt out.

Not saying mockery doesn't have its place, mind, but it tends to lose its edge when it's the only tool in the toolbox.

"Except for the tantrum the blogosphere is now engaged in over Marcotte's firing,"

She wasn't fired, and the "tantrums" ended with that announcement yesterday.

"I can only say that if your 'sacrilege' meter were well calibrated enough, and your political consequences calculus were sophisticated enough, you simply would think otherwise."

Excellent display of condescension; can you do "interested in mutually respectful conversation" now?

Or are you just trolling?

OCSteve:

Michael Graham was fired for calling Islam "a terrorist organization."
Well, yeah, here's a hint: that's a lie and a bigoted slander. Imagine if he'd said that of Christianity or Judaism.
WMAL-AM (search) had suspended Graham after his July 25 broadcast drew protests from the Council on American-Islam Relations (search). Graham, who had a daily three-hour talk on WMAL, had said, "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam," according to CAIR.

On his Web site Monday, Graham said WMAL had asked him to retract his comments about Islam and deliver an on-air apology.

"I refused," he said. "And for that refusal, I was fired."

Shocking.

"if she's changing the terms of debate by, say, rejecting the legitimacy of religion through her ridicule, that's one thing. but i don't get that vibe from her."

Arghhh.

"Sebastian: Piss Christ was deliberately offensive art.

No, it wasn't."

Oh good heavens. Yes, like Serrano or Sister Wendy Beckett I can can come with a sufficiently artsy defense for absolutely anything. But a picture of a crucifix which you have submerged in urine and labelled "Piss Christ" is going to be offensive and you know it full well. And maybe you are trying to "subvert the paradigmatic understanding of Christ" or whatever, but the EXACT SAME THING can easily be said of the Danish cartoons. The goal of the cartoons was the political point of showing that Danish cartoonists were not intimidated by threats of Muslim violence over mere blasphemy (see also "Satanic Verses"). The cartoons ended up showing that the artists had good reason to be intimidated.

It is art trying to make a political point. It doesn't have to be good art to be trying to make a political point through art (though in my opinion, at least some of the cartoons were indeed good art for the cartoon form).

RE Ofili, I will retract 'deliberately' for the artist only. I'm willing to extend to him the ignorance defense if he honestly didn't believe that it would be offensive. I don't extend that to those who exhibited his work in New York, I have a sneaking suspicion they knew full well that it wouldn't be well received. (Note that I am NOT arguing that the museum should have been barred from showing the exhibit or that they should have failed to do so because of the outrage which they knew they risked. I'm supporting the free speech idea. Let them do what they want.) Which brings us back to the Danish cartooon again. Exhibiting or commissioning art which you have reason to believe will be offensive, is something that we allow. Marcotte's example of making a political statement out of offensive words is not in distinction to the Danish cartoons. Both cases were making political statements using offense as the vehicle for making the statement.

OCSteve: I'm not commenting on the hypotheticals because I honestly don't know, and suspect that a lot would turn on particular details which, since the events in question are imaginary, I don't have.

I do think that the following developments would be wonderful: (a) everyone were to just admit that virtually any religion that has served as the foundation for a great civilization, and has won wide popular acceptance, can't be all bad, and is in fact likely to have genuinely great parts to it, though (if it was the religion of a whole civilization), also darker parts to its history; (b) that making fun of things people cherish, not in a good-humored way but in an insulting way, is rude and we shouldn't do it; (c) that in particular people should distinguish between a particular part of Christianity, exemplified by Mr. Donohue, that has gone off the rails, and Christianity as a whole; and likewise between Islamic terrorists and Islam as a whole (note: this is NOT meant to imply any similarity between a hateful but afaik non-violent guy and a terrorist; just that in both cases we need to distinguish the odious part from the quite different whole); (d) we should speak up for freedom of speech whenever it's threatened, and recognize that doing so in no way involves liking what people are freely saying, and also that not every employment decision threatens free speech; (e) -- well, I could go on, but work beckons.

Shorter me: my imagination isn't working well enough to get me to imaginary worlds, but in the meantime I want to get clear on what to do.

OCSteve: Thomas Klocek was summarily fired after students complained he had insulted their religion.

According to wikipedia, Klocek was suspended on full pay, not summarily dismissed: he then sued the university for "for defamation of character and for breach of contract": his claims for breach of contract were dismissed with prejudice on January 30, 2006, and his claims for defamation were allowed to proceed. Further, the Dean's reasons (in the article you link to) for suspending Klocek were not that he'd insulted Islam, but that he'd insulted the students. (My father is a university lecturer, and I gather via him that one thing universities do not tolerate is a lecturer verbally abusing students.)

Michael Graham was fired for calling Islam "a terrorist organization."

"WMAL president and general manager Chris Berry told the industry publication Radio & Records: 'Some of Michael's statements about Islam went over the line — and this isn't the first time that he has been reprimanded for insensitive language and comments. I asked Michael for an on-air acknowledgement that some of his remarks were overly broad and inexplicably he refused.'" So, in fact, he was fired because his boss asked him to acknowledge that Islam is not a terrorist organization, and that the US is not at war with Islam, and he refused to do so - after a history (his boss says) of "insensitive language and comments".

So neither one is exactly a clearcut case of someone suffering a penalty because they "insulted Islam". In both cases, you have someone behaving in a way that their employers found unacceptable. The unacceptable behavior was not directly derogatory language about religious belief.

Can we go back to what I actually said – that there would have been much more of an uproar in the hypothetical I gave? Do you disagree with that?

Of course I disagree. I've given you a couple of examples where someone made a truly outrageous statement against Islam, and there was no uproar. Can you point to any penalty that Glenn Beck or Dennis Prager have suffered, or any uproar equivalent to the one over Amanda's comment about their remarks? Do you yourself still associate that comment with Ann Coulter?

At the international level the cartoonists might feel they were liberal heroes faced against the vast menacing forces of Islam.

Because when they drew them for the Jyllands-Posten they were were very aware of the international readership of this Danish newspaper...

I found this article by a Danish muslim an interesting point of view, providing more background to the writer (was he known for anti-islamic views?) and the Danish community. Interesting to learn that that same writer now is working on a Danish translation of the Koran, even though he doesn't speak Arabic.

If it is true that, as the article says, people are convicted for saying slanderous jews, does that mean that to stand up for the freedom of speech every newspaper in Europe and the US should now start referring to Jews as slanderous?

In a country where referring to Jews as slanderous gets you a (albeit suspended) prison sentence, but where referring to Muslims as a “cancer that should be operated away”, terrorists and people who consider it their “right to rape Danish girls based on the Koran” (as expressed separately by several Danish MP’s) on the other hand is apparently not racism, and where writing a script for a film like Submission gets you a freedom prize from the Prime Minister, one could perhaps excuse the Muslim youth for being a little more than disillusioned.

they don't really think all Christians are mentally challenged morons for believing in the sky god who came down and impregnated a Middle Eastern peasant woman

But.... don't muslims believe the same thing?

Clearly the Democrats should nominate an openly atheist lesbian (preferably transsexual) running on a platform of removing "God" from the Pledge of Allegiance and our money, ending tax exemptions for religious institutions, legalizing prostitution, and for good measure repealing drug laws. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just being a "sensible liberal" and must really be opposed to everything in that list.

you're going down a rhetorical road at the moment in which you wind up trying to prove that -- actually, you're pretty much already at this point -- where you're trying to prove that Muslims in America are more privileged, less threatened, and are in a superior position to, Christians and Jews.

I’d actually say dragged down the road. But I’ll take your point.

For the third time – I did not introduce the topic of the cartoons; I did not use them as a point in my original comment. So I’m done with cartoons.

My entire argument is that given my hypothetical, there would have been a much different outcome, similar to what I laid out. I stand by that, but I can’t prove a hypothetical.

If you honestly believe that the outcome would have been no different then there is nothing I can say to change your mind.

If you honestly believe that publicly insulting Islam is no more dangerous than insulting Catholics then there is nothing I can say to change your mind.

they don't really think all Christians are mentally challenged morons for believing in the sky god who came down and impregnated a Middle Eastern peasant woman

But.... don't muslims believe the same thing?

I'm no expert in either Christianity or Islam, but I'm reasonably sure the answer is "no: Muslims do not believe that God fathered Jesus."

DM, who do you think Muslims believe God impregnated?

The purpose of faux outrage attacks onDemocrats isto distract attention. I'd bee very surprised iff Dobbs spennds a week screaminng about Feith's de facto admission that the inntelligennce upon whhichh this war was based was made up. Nor am i expectinng a righhtwing blogstorm attack against Feith over this.

OCSteve, people have given plenty of examples of people in the US publicly insulting Islam and suffering little penalty for doing so.

OCSteve: If you honestly believe that publicly insulting Islam is no more dangerous than insulting Catholics then there is nothing I can say to change your mind.

And if you honestly believe that insulting Catholics in the US carries less penalties than insulting Islam, then you have been staying well away from all public discourse over the past six years.

"...Feith's de facto admission that the inntelligennce upon whhichh this war was based was made up."

I posted about this story yesterday, but I'd have to say that that's a severe enough distortion to be a falsehood.

And if you honestly believe that insulting Catholics in the US carries less penalties than insulting Islam

carries more penalties. D'oh. Preview didn't help. :-( I need more coffee.

Well, she had a virgin miraculous birth and produced one of the major prophets according to Islam. So there have to be some divine roots there...

Having to look up the specifics led to googling which led me to this site but there are plenty.

"Relate in the Book the story of Mary, when she withdrew from her family, to a place in the East. She screened herself from them; then We sent to her Our spirit (angel Gabriel) and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: I seek refuge from you in God Most Gracious (come not near) if you do fear God. He said: Nay, I am only a Messenger from your Lord, to announce to you the gift of a pure son. She said: How shall I have a son, when no man has ever touched me, and I am not unchaste? He said: So it will be, your Lord says: ‘That is easy for Me; and We wish to appoint him as a sign unto men and a Mercy from Us': It was a matter so decreed" (Quran 19:16-21).

hilzoy:

I note that your 12:28 list includes nothing about respect for the feelings or intelligence of people who are outside faith communities, including atheists such as Amanda.

Amanda's most scathing remarks -- including the Virgin Mary and Plan B comment that frankly0 finds so very, very shocking -- have been directed at people who insist that respect for their feelings about unprovable events is more important than Amanda's right to her own body.

I personally think it is impossible for any verbal insult, no matter how nasty-spirited, to be as offensive as the actual facts women face when we try to control our sexuality and reproduction.

"I'm no expert in either Christianity or Islam, but I'm reasonably sure the answer is "no: Muslims do not believe that God fathered Jesus."

Actually, the Muslim belief about the conception of Jesus is pretty close to the Christian belief.

And it is interesting that there is more said about Mary in the Koran than in the Bible.

In regards to OCSteve's comment, "If you honestly believe that publicly insulting Islam is no more dangerous than insulting Catholics then there is nothing I can say to change your mind."

I think this is very dependent on where you are. In this country, it probably isn't any more dangerous. In some areas, such as some South American countries, it might be more dangerous to insult Catholics.

I do not remember where I saw it yesterday, and I will try to find out, but I read a very interesting article about Muslims in the military, including those who have spent time in Iraq, having a lot of difficulty in this country with name calling, threats etc. That is a real tragedy.

OCSteve,
You keep saying that saying bad things about Islam would produce bad results- qualitatively worse than those produced by a similar statement about Christianity or Judiasm.
But so far, the examples that have been offered appear to be similar (except in one regard): someone says something bad about a religion, a bunch of other people exercise their free speech to condemn the original speaker. Sometimes, the original speaker repents, sometimes not.
The only exception is your claim that anyone who vilifies Islam in the US is in "actual physical danger". Which seems like complete BS, since numerous well-known US religious and political speakers have vilified Islam in spades for years (try googling "islam and satanic"), and I can't recall a single incident of serious physical harm coming because of this. Perhaps you can offer some couterexamples that demonstrate the physical danger posed to US citizens ("stabbed in the street") who said bad things about Islam...

And it is interesting that there is more said about Mary in the Koran than in the Bible.

Well, I suppose I could write more about Mary here than was written about her in the Bible, but there's that little problem of accuracy, which the Qur'an also suffers from, having been written at a remove of several centuries.

Doctor Science, Amanda's remarks may have been directed at those people, but they hit a much broader swath of people. If someone goes into an antisemitic rant, it might be more understandable if there are Jews who have wronged them in some way, especially if their religion had something to do with it, but that doesn't make the comments any less offensive.

Yes, the Bible was only written a few centuries after the fact, therefore the Bible wins.

"Well, I suppose I could write more about Mary here than was written about her in the Bible, but there's that little problem of accuracy, which the Qur'an also suffers from, having been written at a remove of several centuries."

Which is probably why there is more written about her. Early Christianity focused more on Christ, with limited interest in Mary, which developed over time. By the time Mohammed came around, she was already a major player in Christianity and may have needed to be taken into account.

this site has more info on Jesus' role in the Islam.

Being a secular humanist myself I don't remember all the biblical stories and the differences between all the monotheistic (I include Christians in monotheistic) religions, though I am sometimes suprised at the similarities they have. But I come from a culture that has moslims in the house representing the Christian Democrats ;)

I do rememember being pleasantly suprised when I discovered that Islam says Adam and Eve both decided to take the apple and thus were both responsible. Our bible-belt is rather strict about blaming women starting with the responsibility for getting chucked out of paradise.

Spartikus, the 4 gospels were written some 30-60 years after the fact, not a couple centuries. Most of the letters of Paul were written 20-30 years after the fact. (Some attributed to Paul were probably written much later.)

That does not, however, assure complete accuracy.

"...Feith's de facto admission that the inntelligennce upon whhichh this war was based was made up."

I posted about this story yesterday, but I'd have to say that that's a severe enough distortion to be a falsehood.

Gary, I presume you're basing this on the fact that Feith based his work on a CIA conclusion that there was an "evolving" association between Iraq and AQ, and Feith exaggerated the association, but did not make it up.

But I think that even the "evolving" association theory has no credibility any more. And so it seems logical to believe* that the CIA's conclusion is already a compromise between reality and what the administration wanted to hear. (And Feith was an enthusiastic member of the team that wanted to hear it.) And in that case, I tend to agree with lily -- the whole thing was made up.

* I have no direct evidence for this. An alternative explanation is that they honestly believed there was an association, had evidence that seemed to point that way, but they were just wrong. That, I guess, is the official explanation. But it strains my credulity to the breaking point.

"I do not remember where I saw it yesterday, and I will try to find out, but I read a very interesting article about Muslims in the military, including those who have spent time in Iraq, having a lot of difficulty in this country with name calling, threats etc."

Possibly when I posted it here.

If you honestly believe that publicly insulting Islam is no more dangerous than insulting Catholics then there is nothing I can say to change your mind.

Is this an inelegant way of admitting that there are no real facts to back your position? This sounds like you're recasting it as a difference of opinion where no facts can reasonably intrude.
The fact is that there are certainly hundreds of cases of people in the US insulting Islam in the most direct and ugly ways possible without any professional or personal repercussions, let alone suffering any physical attacks.

"I presume you're basing this on the fact that" Feith didn't make such an admission.

Really, what he actually said was mockable enough, I think, that we don't have to go all Jesurgislac on his arse, and rewrite it to what we claim he really meant.

Spartikus, the 4 gospels were written some 30-60 years after the fact

So they say, but earliest surviving copies date from the 4th century. Is what is in the Bible today actually what was originally written? I dunno. The Qu'ran has that going for it, at least.

And, of course, none of the disciples were around to witness events prior to Jesus's birth.

So they say, but earliest surviving copies date from the 4th century.

Therefore, fiction, or fictionalized history written centuries later?

And, of course, none of the disciples were around to witness events prior to Jesus's birth.

Nor was anyone else who bothered to set some sort of writing utensil to media, including Muhammed.

Not sure what your point is, here. Could it possibly be that the gospels are all forgeries? Or that the Qur'an is, in fact, divine truth as related to the prophet, whilst the Bible is a pack of lies? What?

"Is what is in the Bible today actually what was originally written?"

Define "originally written." And "in the Bible today." (Are we talking a Bible in ancient Aramaic and Hebrew, a Torah, or what?)

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Whatnot


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