Today, President Barack Obama betrayed American ideals at the United Nations by blithely equating ongoing Islamist violence with American exercise of free speech. He said that in the future, our world would be ruled by “tolerance.” Not tolerance of other points of view, of course, since that might encourage people to speak freely – and speaking freely offends people. No, by tolerance, President Obama meant silence. Why? Since silence can’t offend anyone, and speaking out stridently on politics and religion is a form of violence.
Here’s what he said:
The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt – it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” The future must not belong to those who bully women – it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons. The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources – it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs; workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the men and women that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims. It is time to heed the words of Gandhi: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.”
This is precisely the opposite of what the Founders would have intended. And it is counter to basic American notions of freedom of speech. In these two paragraphs, Obama equates “those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt” and “those who bully women” and “those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources” with “those who slander the prophet of Islam.” This is beyond disgusting. Those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt are crucifying them. Those who “bully women” in the Middle East are cutting off their clitorises and shooting them in the head for failing to live up to Medieval standards of modesty. Those who “steal a country’s resources” are generally genocidal dictators.
Those who “slander the prophet of Islam” are people exercising their right to free speech.
And as for that quote from Gandhi, it just proves the old adage that just because a wise man said it doesn’t mean it’s wise. In fact, it’s absolute stupidity. Intolerance is not a form of violence. Violence is a form of violence. Our Founders didn’t break off from Great Britain because they were tolerant of Great Britain. They broke off because they were intolerant of its strictures. That’s why the First Amendment is the First Amendment, and not the Twentieth. Free speech is sacrosanct. Yet Obama compares it to murder, torture, and dictatorship on the world stage.
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