Posted by lex, on February 3, 2006
Apropos of recent discussions here and elsewhere on passionate beliefs, we have the continuing uproar between those who get excited about caricatures of religious figures, and those who get excited about the freedom of conscience. This is such an interesting discussion precisely because it goes to the very heart of the West’s struggle with Islamic extremism: It really is a war between Freedom and Submission (which is, after all, what “islam” means – submission to the will of God:
Protests against European newspapers’ publication of cartoons lampooning the prophet Muhammad gained momentum across the Islamic world Thursday as Pakistani schoolchildren burned French and Danish flags and Muslim presidents denounced the drawings. At the same time, more European news organizations printed or broadcast the caricatures, citing a need to defend freedom of expression.
In another day of confrontation between the largely secular nations of Europe and Muslim countries where religion remains a strong force in daily life, Islamic activists threatened more widespread protests and boycotts of European businesses. While some European officials sought to defuse the crisis, many journalists insisted that despite Islamic outrage, religious sensibilities should not result in censorship.
Faith and reason are often seen to be at war by determined secularists, although my own church relies upon a “three-legged stool” of scripture, tradition and reason, so it is not necessarily so. Still, it’s very difficult to argue rationally with those who abjure rationality entirely, far less those who have encouraged amongst themselves a culture of grievance and entitlement.
Which brings us, curiously, to the recent words of NAACP chairman Julian Bond:
Civil rights activist and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond delivered a blistering partisan speech at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina last night, equating the Republican Party with the Nazi Party and characterizing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, Colin Powell, as “tokens.”
“The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side,” he charged.
It’s hard to deny that the man has a determined point of view, and it’s very likely that he even believes in it passionately.
Forgive me however, if I seem unimpressed.
Update: Freedom of speech! Not just for infidels anymore.