Make no mistake, the radical Islamic jihadist terrorist attacks in Paris strike at the very heartbeat of Western Civilization, namely freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion. These freedoms are essential and priceless values of Western Civilization. In fact, the belief that freedom of speech is cherished as a universal right was enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19 of which declares, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”
For radical jihadists to slaughter cartoonists for offensive cartoons must not be tolerated. At this point, I believe it is important for me to state that, personally I do not think people should mock or caricature religious figures or their followers’ faith convictions. I do not believe that people’s religious beliefs or family members should be mocked or vilified. We can and should analyze, discuss, and even argue people’s beliefs on the merits, not mock and caricature them. I know how offended I have been when I have seen a crucifix submerged in urine masquerading as a work of art. After all, as a Christian I am commanded to follow the “Golden Rule” and do unto others as I would have them do unto me.
Having said that, when people murder human beings who do mock and caricature such figures and convictions, then society has an obligation and a duty to stand up and say, “you are not going to bully or intimidate us.” I believe the correct response to this assault on our basic rights and freedoms is to say something along the lines of: “I may disagree with everything someone is saying, but I defend to the death their right to say it.”
I believe every major print and electronic news outlet in this country ought to publish and broadcast the offending cartoons collectively on the same day. There is strength in numbers, and in doing this we as a society would be telling our enemies what our forefathers told those denying their rights almost 250 years ago: “Don’t Tread on Me!”
As the now murdered French cartoonist said in the face of previous jihadist threats “I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”
In 1988, in the Hustler Magazine vs. Falwell case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that the protection of the most vile and crude parodies of religious and other public figures. Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the majority in this notorious case said: “at the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern.” Justice Rehnquist went on to say; “the freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Richard D. Land