Tuesday, April 27, 2010

South Park and the Prophet ...

... 'South Park' and the Informal Fatwa. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

... Everyone Draw Mohammed.

... Draw Muhammad Day 2010!


  1. Great ideas. I personally commit myself here and now to drawing an image of Muhammad -- non-violent, non-parodic -- and submitting it under my real name somewhere on May 20, the date suggested in one of the posts.

    Once this gets started, then we can start drawing parodies of The Prophet, when they are justified, just as we do of other religious figures.

    For those who don't know it, that's what's known as freedom of (and, I suppose, from) religion.

  2. Here is a question:
    Is it possible for someone outside of a faith to blaspheme? Or is blasphemy simply unacceptable conduct by one within the faith?

    Following those questions, I offer this question:
    Even if blasphemy is not the issue, does not one have the moral obligation to be respectful of others and their religious convictions?

    Here now is another question:
    Even if someone is wrong when they accuse another of blasphemy or disrespect (see above), and even if that someone's response is mean-spirited and dangerous, is there ever an occasion when another wrongful act (by the accused or his supporters) serves to remedy or mitigate the initial wrong? (In other words, when do two wrongful actions makes something right?)

    Now, the final question:
    While it may not be appropriate to legislate such matters (and that is the topic for a different discussion), are there not common sense limits on "freedom of speech" in the sense that we all have a moral duty as God-made humans to remain respectful of others, even when others are being disrespectful or unreasonable? (In other words, isn't there something useful in the concept: turn the other cheek?)

    Finally, an observation:
    In the current dust up regarding SOUTH PAR, all people need to slow down, calm down, and be careful and respectful here.

  3. I don't know, R.T. Those seem like reasonable questions, but I have to ask where the respect comes from in return. Turn your questions around and ask where there is any respect coming from those ideological extremists (i.e. fundamentalists) who promote and establish fatwa and jihad. Is there any, coming from that direction? Sure doesn't seem to be.

    Respect needs to be mutual and to go in ALL directions, for it to operate. These extremists are intolerant of others even within the general tide of Islam, not only with non-Muslims. So while it might be generous to offer respect to those who give none in return, it might also be asked if it is wise to offer

    It is certainly possible for someone outside of a faith to commit mockery, but "blasphemy" is almost without exception a term used by (often humorless) insiders within a faith to describe actions by other insiders OR outsiders as doctrinally incorrect. "Blasphemy" is a control word, a thought-control word, a word always used as a whip rather than a salve. It's a strong word, and it almost always leads to persecution of one kind or another, not excluding the Spanish Inquisition burning heretics at the stake. People who use the word "blasphemy" are almost always those most willing to light those fires. Where's the respect in that? Certainly there's no respect for diversity in it, for the lives and beliefs of others.

    As I'm sure everyone knows, the attitude of fundamentalism, which at root is very much about who's an acceptable insider and who's not, is not owned by anyone particular religion, although it must be said that historically the three Abrahamic religions are more prone to fundamentalism than any other of the world's religions. Perhaps it's the lingering psychology of scarce resources and desert hardship that causes that worldview.

    Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights do make a left.

  4. I do not think one needs to condition one's respect toward another culture or society upon receipt of respect for your own. Turn that around and you have this concept: when one is the target of disrespect or hatred or violence, I am not certain that disrespect, hatred, or violence are appropriate responses, especially if the seeds of the responses are irrational. All that I am saying in my contributions to this discussion is this: let reason and restraint prevail.