Over the past two weeks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has never missed the opportunity to publicly denounce the YouTube video called "Innocence of Muslims" in the strongest and most unequivocal way.
“To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible,” Clinton said at a meeting with Moroccan officials in Washington. “It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose to denigrate a great religion and provoke rage."
I wonder if those on the "Arab Street" whom these words were designed to satiate and appease would be pleased to know that Ms. Clinton has already supported using tax dollars to fund the same type of offensive art here in the United States--when it targets Christians.
In 1999, while Ms. Clinton was transitioning from beleaguered first spouse to anointed Senate candidate in her very recently adopted state of New York, a controversy arose in Brooklyn. An art exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art featured a painting of the Virgin Mary with cut-out pictures of buttocks, vaginas and heaping piles of elephant dung smeared across the image of the Madonna.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani (who was contemplating his own run for the same Senate seat) spoke out in the harshest terms against the painting being included in an exhibit funded by tax dollars and he attempted to pull that funding from the museum.
Ms. Clinton opposed that move.
"It is not appropriate to penalize and punish an institution such as the Brooklyn museum that has served this community with distinction over many years," she said at the time.
And the liberal elites in Manhattan ate it up. Of course the art was offensive, but it was offensive to Christians... even better, Catholics, so it not only had to be tolerated, it had to be supported by public funding.
That's how these things work in a free society that holds up free expression above all else.
So now some questions must be asked.
What if "The Innocence of Muslims" had been funded by an NEA grant? What if it had been shown not on YouTube but in a public museum? Would Ms. Clinton support that? One must think she would, if she is to be intellectually consistent with her support of funding for the highly offensive art targeting Catholics a decade ago.
Or, since Ms. Clinton has made the leap to connect violence against U.S. embassies as somehow being inspired by this laughingly appalling YouTube clip, would she now place public safety and the safety of Americans abroad on a more paramount footing and oppose public funding for this free expression?
And if so, doesn't that just instruct the "Arab Street" that they are held to a different standard than others because their violence has been respected and rewarded with appeasement by our State Department?
Ms. Clinton was supported and lauded for her stance in favor of public funding for art that Catholics found offensive because there was no conceivable threat at any time in any way of violence and mayhem from the "Christian Street." Such a notion is laughable.
But Ms. Clinton fears the "Arab Street" and its intolerant, reprehensible and uncivilized reaction to any offense to themselves or their faith, real or imagined.
And her fear has now become manifest in US foreign policy. And it is truly disappointing for those of us who believed she would be better at taking that 3 a.m. phone call than the man to whom she now reports.