Who would say this, a fundamentalist imam charging people up for their Friday riot, or the president of the United States?

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

Apparently both of them.

This is wrong on so many levels. Firstly, if the future must belong to anyone, it is those who support free speech, not those who have people arrested for criticizing Islam.

Second, why is Islam set aside for such delicate treatment? He’s not upset about attacks against any other religion. A broadway show satirizing Mormonism gets nary a peep, and even in the wake of this very controversy, the White House has refused to condemn a notorious anti-Christian art display that was funded by the federal government. (Of course, Mormons and Christians don’t riot. But wouldn’t it be a better policy to discourage riots, rather than reward them?)

Third, how exactly was the Innocence of Muslims video slanderous? I haven’t seen it, but I gather it called Mohammed a pedophile. Slander? The man married a six-year-old girl! (Oh, but he didn’t consummate the marriage until she was nine.)

Fourth, the remark is even worse in context. He had a whole litany of “the future must not belong” lines. All the others refer to murders, thieves, and the like. That’s the category Barack Obama would put critics of Islam in: “the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people.”

In other contexts, the president has been saying that it’s not okay to denigrate any religion. He clearly doesn’t really mean it; heck, he’s been staging a whispering campaign against Mormonism (Mitt Romney’s religion) of his own. But let’s pretend that he does mean it. The very idea is insulting. It is okay — no, more than that, it is good — to debate religious ideas. Recently someone discovered a scrap of an old manuscript that suggests that Jesus might have been married. Are Christians calling for its suppression? No, Christians have the confidence to debate their ideas. This notion that we can’t debate religion puts religion in a special category that reason must not enter, and that is frankly insulting. That’s not friendly to religion, it’s hostile to it.

The media clearly agrees that this remark was awful, because they’ve gone complete radio silence on it. The New York Times even had the chutzpah to “Obama Tells U.N. New Democracies Need Free Speech”, because of a throwaway line in support of free speech that he clearly didn’t mean.

(Previous post.)

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