Defend Dawkins? Indeed, some things are sent to try us. I suppose it's a little like the Danish cartoon kerfuffle in that, while one may have agreed that the cartoons were offensive embarassing, one still had to defend them once the sparks started to fly. As in this case Dawkins would appear to be factually guilty as charged, (promoting hatred of religion), what we in the West are really saying is that should be lawful and subject to no restraints. As the anti-religious rhetoric of the authors of these books and their fans in the blogosphere is becoming increasingly scurrilous and menacing, I sure hope we know what we are doing. Most of the third world thinks we are out of our minds.I remember being much moved by this quote from blogger Joe Carter during the cartoon controversy:When I joined the Marines I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, including the rights to free speech and a free press. For fifteen years I stood ready to take up arms or, if necessary, to lay down my life in the defense of these foundations of liberty. I believe in protecting the freedom of speech, whether it comes from terrorist-wannabes like Ted Rall, know-nothing pundits like Joel Stein, or religious-bashing Danish cartoonists. I believe that, like religious liberty, this is a divinely permitted freedom that demands due vigilance. But just once I'd like to be called upon to champion speech that is true, honorable, just, and pure. Just once I'd like to defend a freedom that wasn't vulgar, degraded, and profane. Just once I'd like to defend freedom that aspired to the ideals of Thomas Jefferson rather than to the inclinations of Larry Flynt.