News & Politics

We Must Rewrite the First Amendment to Protect the Feelings of Religious People, As Long As They're Muslims

Another day, another attack on the principle of free speech from our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters at the Washington Post. Democracy Dies in Darkness, indeed.

Alex Griswold at the Washington Free Beacon reads WaPo so we don’t have to:

MSNBC political analyst and former Obama administration official Richard Stengel argued that America needs to outlaw hateful speech, including Koran burning.

“Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw,” Stengel argued in a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday…

“As a government official traveling around the world championing the virtues of free speech, I came to see how our First Amendment standard is an outlier,” he said. “Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?”

The only correct answer to this question is: “Because that’s what ‘free speech’ means, dummy.” But Stengel couldn’t come up with that one on his own.

According to Stengel, we need to make hate speech illegal. As for what exactly qualifies as hate speech? I guess we’ll just have to find out! That decision certainly won’t be up to you or me. We don’t get to decide whether or not we’re hateful.

Normally I would dismiss un-American nonsense like this, but it reminds me of the liberal double standard when it comes to religion. Whenever some backwoods preacher threatens to burn a Koran, or some cartoonist draws a likeness of the Prophet Mohammed, libs go to Red Alert. But you can insult Christianity and Christians all day, and nobody cares. Because everybody knows Christians won’t try to kill anybody for insulting their religion.

Here’s just one example: Last month, the AMC cable channel wrapped up their Preacher series, based on a ’90s action/Western/horror comic book that depicts a very unorthodox version of Heaven and Hell. The comic and the show both treated Christianity as a joke. In fact, the main villain that the protagonists fought was… God. Not a god, like Thor or Loki, but God with a Capital G. The Christian deity. Flowing white beard and all.

Here’s a trailer for the show:

That Daily Caller quote they used is from a blog post I wrote about the show when it was first announced. I said that if the show turned out to be anything like the comic book it was based on, it would be blasphemous. That prediction was 100% correct. I also said that the blasphemy against God doesn’t bother me because it’s just fiction, and I can take a joke. I’m pretty sure He can too. I wasn’t taking offense to it. But when the big brains at AMC were making their little ad and looked around for right-wingers to bravely stand up to, they didn’t read any of that boring stuff I wrote. They just picked out that one word. My considered opinion was boiled down to: “Blasphemous.” — Daily Caller.

Anyway, my point is that this Preacher show ran for four seasons, 43 episodes in all, and not a single person was killed over it. There were no riots, no bombings, no armed assaults on the AMC offices. Nobody suffered so much as a scratch. A few bad reviews from conservative sites (and one shrug of indifference from me) were the worst the show suffered. As I wrote back in 2015:

It’s inevitable that some Christians are going to complain about this show… And it’s equally inevitable that our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters on the left will heckle those devoutly religious people for not having a sense of humor about themselves. They’ll be told to shut up because they’re big babies, which is basically true.

But then, the next time Muslim terrorists try to kill somebody for pissing them off with a cartoon — or a movie, or a novel, or whatever — those same MEIBs will go back to calling it “hate speech.”

That was a little over four years ago. And now, Richard Stengel has been kind enough to prove my point for me.

Burn a Koran in the middle of nowhere, and it’s time to repeal the First Amendment. Broadcast a national TV show where God is Dr. Evil with a long white beard, and… shrug emoji.

No thanks, Richard Stengel. Free speech doesn’t mean freedom from offense. If Christians can put up with being mocked and disrespected, so can Muslims. And so can everybody else.