This morning I posted a link on Facebook from one of my favorite libertarian sites, reason.com.
It talks about "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" and the reasons behind it. It is well thought out and illuminates that the point is not to "make fun" of a particular religion but rather to stand up to intimidation by crazy people.
My Facebook post that accompanied the link:
"Everybody draw Mohammed! I know I will! This is what the very best part of Berkeley is all about - freedom of expression and ideas. I refuse to be intimidated by real or implied threats of violence by religious fanatics."
Then, within minutes, I got someone responding. A left of center friend who is usually pretty moderate and sensible when it comes to social issues and matters of foreign policy.
"I'm torn by this. While I totally agree that we have every right to exercise our freedom of speech, I don't know if this is something we should ridicule. I mean I see stories everyday about how our troops are over there trying to win the hearts and the minds of the Islamic community by showing that we all aren't just racially and culturally insensitive bastards there to oppress. I don't see how belittling their religion is going to support our troops and help the war effort. Just my thoughts, would love feedback."
"That's kind of the whole point - we (meaning most secular Americans) ARE culturally insensitive bastards and Muslims just have to fucking deal with it. Just as Jews and Christians have had to for the past half century.
Islamic facists don't get a pass just because they are the most comfortable with cutting people's heads off and blowing shit up.
Obama has taken any and all references to Islam out of all the DOJ literature on terrorism.
They still hate us. And they always will.
Everybody draw Mohammed day is not about "ridiculing" a particular religion. It's about freedom. Freedom of thought and freedom of ideas, even offensive ones.
I'm not going to play nice. I'm not going back down from my right to be a total idiot - no matter who I am making fun of.
It is my God given right to be an asshole, and it is protected by the US Constitution. Many men greater than I have died defending it, and I'll be damned if I'm going to cower in fear because some nut-bag has it in his head that his particular religion deserves special treatment.
Radical Islam can suck it and so can Mohammed."
So now it's official - I said Mohammed can suck it. Both here and on Facebook.
(Kathy Griffin said Jesus could suck it on national television, but that's neither here nor there of course.)
These are just words, but I can't help but feel a faint chill of fear run down my back at the thought of some crazy person stumbling across my remarks and taking action. This makes me sad, and angry.
Much as with flipping some random person off on the 405, it doesn't seem worth it to exercise my right to free speech, if a random wacko is going to be so offended as to want to do me or a loved one bodily harm. The 405 road-rager because he's probably on drugs and had a shitty childhood, the radical Muslim because he's got a massive inferiority complex about his God.
But yes, I am so pissed off about this quashing of freedom - freedom of speaking one's mind, that I am willing to risk my life (though it's very unlikely that anything will come from this) just to exercise my right to be a dick.