Thirty-seven years ago a group of comedians released a film that made light of Christianity and the faith of millions of Western citizens. Following the initial screenings of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there was no violent response. No embassies were burned. No ambassadors or their staff members were murdered.
This pallid response pales in comparison to the recent violence that has erupted over the release of a shoddily produced film on www.YouTube.com which mocks the prophet Muhammad. Not only have embassies burned and a U.S. ambassador been killed, along with three of his staff, but demands are being made of our government to censor speech and punish those who dare to insult this so-called religion of peace.
There is far more at work here than a mere cultural difference. If one takes a glance at human history, long ago, many Christians would have reacted in a similar fashion toward a film like The Holy Grail; albeit, centuries have gone by since that time.
What we are observing is not just the effect of religious dogma on a culture, but the effect that is caused by the absence of science and reason in a culture. Ideas like freedom, liberty and human rights take a back seat to the Fatwas of small-minded religious leaders who use their beliefs to twist the minds of young people to commit acts of violence against those who do not share their faith.
This is a world where there is no concept of separation of church and state. Acts of blasphemy, which are protected by our first amendment, can land you in prison, or much worse, in many countries where Islam dominates the cultural landscape.
Our technology is evolving faster than human culture and those who have been shrouded by ignorance are entering a world where the capacity to think and reason are valued more than the delusional piety and devotion of blind faith.
Some seek to capitulate by appeasing this violent ignorance. They think we should walk on proverbial eggshells to avoid conflict, even at the cost of censoring the speech of our fellow citizens.
We should never pretend reverence to such outdated and archaic ideas for the illusion of peace. None of us will ever be safe when such unabashed hate and bigotry demand our compliance at the point of a sword.
Christians have a saying: "Hate the sin. Love the sinner." Our reproach need not be tantamount to racism or rabid nationalism. Indeed, this same ignorance exists within our own culture in the form of those who seek to replace science in our schools with superstition, and fight the progression of our own society toward greater tolerance and equality, while clinging to the words of ancient texts to justify their bigotry.
Free speech is more sacred than any prophet or religion. While I respect your right to believe whatever nonsense you like, personally, I will never respect a belief based on the life of a mentally deranged pedophile, and you can't make me. Deal with it.
Timothy L Havener
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom