Tag Archives: freedom of speech

Free Speech Day

Today is Everyone Draw Muhammad Day. Some people consider this an attack on Islam. I consider it a counter-attack against the idea that, “You can’t do that because it’s against my religion,” is a valid position.

Muslims have freedom of religion, and can certainly practice their beliefs in any way that doesn’t harm other people. Their freedom of religion, though, only extends to the point where it butts up against other people’s freedom from religion. No group has a right to impose its religious beliefs on any other group. Images of Muhammad may seem like a minor issue (though a recent one; there have been many artists’ renderings of Muhammad over the centuries, many of them by Muslim artists), but it is only the tip of a much larger issue. Seeing a woman’s naked face offends many Muslims too. Should all women wear veils, to avoid giving offense? Women getting an education or, really, being treated like human beings at all is offensive to many Muslims. What do we do to avoid giving offense there? Are all of us subject to Islamic law?

I lack any artistic skills, but felt obligated to take up the task, for freedom of, and from, religion. My humble effort.

Ask Muhammad

The First Amendment to the US Constitution

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

That is what was written a couple of centuries ago. Now, we live in a country where bribing politicians is Constitutionally protected free speech, but peaceably assembling to petition the government for a redress of grievances will get you swarmed with riot police.

Have a nice day.

Who Is The Country

“Merely a politician’s trick–a high-sounding phrase, a blood-stirring phrase which turned their uncritical heads: Our Country, right or wrong! An empty phrase, a silly phrase. It was shouted by every newspaper, it was thundered from the pulpit, the Superintendent of Public Instruction placarded it in every schoolhouse in the land, the War Department inscribed it upon the flag. And every man who failed to shout it or who was silent, was proclaimed a traitor–none but those others were patriots. To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, “Our Country, right or wrong,” and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?

“For in a republic, who is “the Country”? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant–merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is “the Country”? Is it the newspaper? is it the pulpit? is it the school superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in the thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn’t.

“Who are the thousand–that is to say, who are “the Country”? In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country; in a republic it is the common voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country–hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of”. — Mark Twain

“Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.

“This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — “No, YOU move.”” — Captain America