My Dear Friends,
In light of, once again, the current crisis in regards to selective Free Speech - I wish to bring your attention to an article I wrote back in 2009.
I do not care what your politics are, but the issue of Free Speech is as important as Women, Gay or Civil Rights, and yet some of the same folk who may wear the banner of any of these issues cower and balk at the most fundamental right any of us have - TO SPEAK OUT or EXPRESS any point of view without fear of retaliation.
To blame the current riots and murders solely on a film that may offend, whether the film be accurate or not, is absurd. I have not seen the film nor do I care to. I also do not like attacks on any religion and think it in bad taste and shows a lack of respect for others and their beliefs.
I am a Catholic, and over the years there have been many films or cultural works that offended the Catholic religion, and while there may have been protests or condemnation of a particular piece there was no violence perpetrated.
Look, the town I live in is rife with wonderfully creative people pushing the envelope on sex, drugs and rock and roll. My town loves pissing up the leg on a variety of sacred taboos! And the flag of free speech is waved when there seems a criticism of those irreverent works of "art."
We love shock and awe in our culture! Don't we?
Now here is my problem. While we backslap the edgy for their envelop pushing, who is to say what in our culture led to Columbine, or more recently, the violent massacre in the movie theater in Colorado? Could we perhaps think that as John Hinckley was affected by a film, others are? Or that they can be affected even by video games for that matter?!
There is a concern for gay marriage, but imagine if some in the Middle East declared all gays be killed because it is against the tenets of Islam, as they have condemned Christians and Jews. Would those same people stand up for their views against riots and murder of gays as such acts have been committed against Christians and Jews, or would they be hiding and turning away from those who wish to love who they choose?
Would there be an outcry from Hollywood? Was there an outcry when Christian churches were burned or blown up in the countries that do not tolerate other religions? How many of you have seen the beheading on camera of a young Arab convert to Christianity because he was considered an infidel? Yes, I saw his head cut off with a dull knife while blood spurt from his neck! There would have been more of an outcry from Hollywood if it was the slaughter of a seal!
What about the filmmaker who was killed in Holland for his film dealing with the treatment of woman in certain countries? So, while certain things are not politically correct to take on, it appears that others are fair game - like attacks on Scientology or Christianity or any other religion except of course, the most intolerant of all.
Look, we do not have to condone denigrating a historical figure, but we must have the freedom to do so - without peril to the first and most fundamental amendment. And our lives!
My friends HEED this warning! I do not believe, personally, in offending anyone or any religion. I feel we must RESPECT all and live as brothers and sisters - Arab, Jew, Gentile, Buddhist, Scientologist, Mormon, Vegetarian, Smoker, Straight, Gay or Lesbian - whatever the race, color, creed or orientation. Imagine "Harry Potter" or "The Last Tempation of Christ" or "The Da Vinci Code " and a ton of other films that happen to offend people of Faith, and instead of perhaps not going to see the films, people went and then started killing and rioting.
Wake up! We are in perilous times. Now, please read my previous article on the First Amendment.