I caught a discussion on CNN the other night. One person was defending the expression of free speech and religious freedom from the Garland, Texas, “Draw Mohammad Contest.” The other was saying that it was equivalent to yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater - and that that sort of thing either is either already beyond constitutional protection or should be banned anyway.
First a bit of mild legal theory: It’s not anything like yelling “Fire.” That is representing a false fact to cause people naturally do something dangerous. The speech causes the result.
Having a “Draw Mohammad Contest” is designed to gig Muslims who believe that it matters when someone draws Mohammad. (By the way, the Jews, Christians, etc., have the “make no graven image” thing, but apparently don’t take it seriously. Including me.)
Drawing Mohammad is speech and an intentional insult to Mohammad. It leads some people to make a CHOICE to do something dangerous. It’s also rather stupid to bother doing and not just a bit childish. It’s religious speech, even though the Great Commission to the Apostles (Matthew 28) doesn’t even slightly mention pissing off Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, Wiccans, Druids or the odd Jehovah’s Witness. Mind you, you may piss them off anyway, but that's not the whole point of doing it.
What would Jesus do? Beats me. I bet he wouldn’t waste his time drawing the Prophet.
On the other hand, we KNOW that people get peeved when their god is mocked, insulted, etc. The Christian world was all aghast that a museum in NYC featured “blasphemous art” about Jesus. Mind you, I don’t think Christians got all fatwa about it, but they some did their best to pull funding from the museum. At least certain Muslims actually believe that it is justified to reach for a gun and shoot the place up. Sadly, people act on what they believe, be it factual or ridiculous.
So here we have a perfect storm of cultural clash - One group uses absolutely legal means to piss off another group, which answers to a “higher law” and reaches for an AK to kill anybody around.
So what will we have? We can pander to people with un-funny but constitutionally protected speech. Or we can pander to those who act what most people would say was nuts and shoot the place up. If the former, we quite properly shoot the shooters' asses. If the latter, we let them control our speech. That's a big deal in America. There is of course a more polite way to put it, but I prefer blunt. There are important interests here, centering on controlling others’ behavior.
It’s easy to say respect others. Who? Each side sees this as a matter of respect?
It’s gonna get worse before it gets better, assuming for the sake of argument that it will get better.