Recently, in a column for the Fox Forum called “Muhammad Cartoons vs. Piss Christ” I compared the insult Muslims feel when they see a drawing of Muhammad to the hurt Christians felt when an artist photographed a crucifix in a jar of urine, called it “Piss Christ” and received a tax-funded monetary award from the National Endowment of the Arts.
The point I tried to make is that just because the First Amendment allows you to say something doesn’t mean you should say it. Freedom comes with responsibility, which includes tactfulness when discussing the revered symbols of another’s religion.
Sure you are free to hurl insults – but remember the purpose of criticism is persuasion, and no one has ever been persuaded by first being insulted. Criticism can be made of Islam and Christianity without denigrating either’s most sacred symbols.
As Americans we should fight like hell for the right to draw a picture of Muhammad, but then choose not to.
This issue is hot today because some folks short on good criticism and long on juvenile insult declared May 20 “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” I wonder why they didn’t include “Everyone Piss On a Crucifix Day,” too? That they didn’t do just that, suggests that this is not a pro-First Amendment movement, but a purely an anti-Muslim movement.
There are two Facebook pages battling it out. One is called “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” It has about 79,000 members. The other protests with “Against Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” It has about 90,000 members.
So here’s my question: Why does Facebook allow a page whose purpose is to spread hate for a religion? After all, Facebook used to ban activity for no other reason than the author was home-schooled (and that’s some weird priorities right there).
A Facebook spokesperson defended the company’s decision to not ban the “Draw Muhammad” page to FoxNews.com earlier this week:
“Groups that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs -- even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some -- do not by themselves violate our policies.”
But compare that to this quote from an interview with a Facebook spokesman last year with Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper. Things were different when the topic was not anti-religion pages, but about pages that include racism:
I see the Facebook matrix: “Racism is bad, but bashing religion is good.”
Facebook also said this to FoxNews.com about the “Draw Muhammad” page:
"When a group created to express an opinion devolves into threats or hate speech, we will remove the threatening or hateful comments and may even remove the group itself."
Hey Facebook – have you seen the two pages today? They are both a cesspool of hateful anti-religious commentary, devoid of useful criticism and swimming with the worst of distance-induced Internet hatred and nastiness.
If these pages don’t violate Facebook’s rules against hate speech, you can’t violate them.
Both pages have been taken over by anti-religious zealots whose purpose is to stir up anger for the sake of eliciting an even angrier response – all heat and no light. The folks posting the hate have the advantage of hiding whatever it is they hold sacred, so that no one can employ their own tactics against them. Cowards.
Both pages are filled with drawings, manipulated photos and commentary showing all religious leaders in acts of bestiality, pedophilia and outrages claims to calamities in history that religion couldn’t possibly be held accountable for.
Even if you’ve read hateful speech, you’ve still probably never read such blind, ignorant rage as is existent on these pages. Both pages should be taken down immediately, but they won’t be.
Facebook has obliterated civilized discourse.
Tommy De Seno is an attorney and writer. For more visit JustifiedRight.com.
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Tommy De Seno is an attorney in New Jersey and contributor to Ricochet.com.