Offended by the Offensive

In response to the Chicago-Tribune article: “Ignore them, and be spared the drama”

Apparently, Parker believes that people do not have the right to be offended by offensive material. Although I am no advocate of Donohue or the Catholic League, I do firmly believe that all sane and civilized people – be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish, atheist, or otherwise – should be respectful of the beliefs and values cherished by others.

People who ridicule the religious and/or cultural beliefs of others should not be surprised when those who hold such beliefs express offense. This doesn’t mean that such people don’t believe in the freedom of expression for those who seek to ridicule their beliefs – far from it. But they also believe in the right to freely express their dismay at such attacks, and appeal to those who ridicule them to exercise restraint.

That said, couldn’t Parker have done without the anti-Muslim bigotry in order to buttress her point? Only someone who is truly biased can refer to death threats as just something “outraged Muslims do.” I am certainly not going to defend the excessive reactions of some Muslims to the Danish Cartoons. But to refer to the cartoons as merely an “act of protest” is just plain silly.

Even if the drawings were published following the vicious murder (by no more than a single Muslim extremist) of Van Gogh, it was a bigoted attack on the faith of 1.3 billion people, and should be acknowledged as such. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Then there’s the quip that we should distinguish between Catholics and Muslims in this regard. Whereas, according to Parker, the death threats issued by some Catholics were merely “random threats from random people,” Muslims who do so are “anarchists” who act with the blessings of the amorphous “state.”

At first, I was confused. If the death threats made by some reactionary Muslims were not “random threats from random people,” then what were they? Parker isn’t insinuating that Muslims in the United States or anywhere else in the world are all radicals is she? No one can be that bigoted in these times, can they? Based on the following statement she just may have indicted herself as just that:

“Let’s face it, no one seriously fears that U.S. Catholics are going to take down the Sears Tower with passenger planes.”