Sunday, September 23, 2012

Guest Post

Enough, already, put your religious outrage where the sun don't shine

First off, I am a great believer in not going out of my way to offend anyone. I believe in a well developed sense of tolerance at the least, and perhaps reasonable respect as a higher goal. If a house of worship is on fire, I will pass water buckets as fast as I can, regardless of whether it's a Catholic cathedral, a Baptist chapel, a Jewish temple, Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall, a Mormon temple, a Buddhist shrine, or a mosque.

I am also a believer in Freedom of Speech, practiced right up to the point where it is going to cause damage to innocents, the classic "FIRE" in a crowded theater. I truly hate and despise the abuse of free speech, such as the fanatics who go to funerals of our soldiers and proclaim how happy they are that one of our military has been killed. But it is necessary for the protection of free speech to put up with some level of abuse, so we are stuck with suffering such to be practiced.

Those who deliberately provoke Muslims by what they say or do or proclaim upset me tremendously, because they are playing with fire and they know it. But it is legitimate to criticize any organization, whether it's the Boy Scouts, the Red Cross, United Way, the NFL, the Catholic Church, or Islam. In the past 20+ years we have seen many examples of criticism of Christianity, from disgusting "art" to movies which are clearly blasphemy by the standards of Christianity, and the ACLU has been on a crusade for a long time now to erase every trace of Christian symbolism from public places. But those who are believers must just tighten their jaws and suffer the distress these actions cause them.

Meanwhile, we have a situation where fanatic Muslims demand total respect from everyone else in the world for their religious feelings, while at the same time proclaiming total disrespect for all other religions. (And utter viciousness towards Judaism in particular.)

At some point we non-Muslims have to stop tolerating and pandering to intolerance. At some point we must stand up and not only skip any apology, but just condemn the violence, destruction, and murder in the most basic and strongest terms. And as much as our State Dept would be horrified, I would want our Marines defending our embassy to fire warning shots just once; and if the crowd comes back after that, I would want the Marines to start shooting the attackers through the legs if unarmed, and through the chest if armed. Yes, there will be screaming about that, but the lesson has to be given that we will not quietly suffer violent abuse.

In some parts of the world in the end all that matters is getting respect, and the only way to get respect is to demonstrate you have power and are willing to use it. That's not a reality some Westerners comprehend, and even thinking of it would make them uncomfortable; but it is what is it, and accepting that other cultures can be radically different from ours is just realism, rather than indulging in comfortable fantasy.

Jimmy Carter put us in a rotten position internationally when he tolerated the taking of our embassy and the imprisonment of our people there. We got our people back after 444 days because Reagan was taking over the Oval Office and the Iranians knew he was not Jimmy Carter, and would take steps that would be bad for Iran. They respected Reagan.

We don't have that respect anymore, and that is a bad thing. It's time to stop being the patsy who apologizes for bleeding when beaten. It's time to make it clear our tolerance has limits, and it's a bad idea to push past those limits.


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