Occasionally, in the course of my daily newspaper reading, a line jumps off the page, sends chills down my spine and keeps me awake at night. A recent Associated Press article regarding the chaos currently spreading across the Middle East contained such a line.
Speaking of the United Nations, it read as follows: “Among the proposals is a call to impose an international law against promoting religious hatred.” It goes on to say that “many Muslim scholars and leaders have urged the U.N. or other international bodies to step in to help define possible global standards on religious expression.”
Finally, AP tells us that “Paul Bhatti, an advisor to the Pakistani prime minister, told a multi-faith crowd of Muslims, Christians and others outside the country’s parliament Sunday that international laws should be imposed to limit the most hateful fringes of Western free speech.”
Still using a cheesy, 15-minute Internet video — which most of them have never seen — as their excuse for anti-American riots and murder, this so-called anti-blasphemy law is a deadly serious proposal put forth by religious fanatics to silence anyone who speaks against their repressive, autocratic dogma. And make no mistake; their primary target is the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights, contained within the Constitution of the United States of America.
Many Muslims have come to believe that their religion is denigrated in the United States, when exactly the opposite is true. Indeed, in movies, on television, in the mainstream media and among our government bureaucrats, no set of religious tenets is handled more delicately than those of Islam.
Contrary to the myth that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, caused a backlash against Muslims, America has instead prostrated itself before the Islamic world in an attempt to make them love us. We prosecute our own soldiers if they “mishandle” a Koran or otherwise “disrespect” Muslims. We provide prisoners of war — who have killed our soldiers on the battlefield — food and religious materials in accordance with their faith.
We have even elected a president who apologizes to our enemies when we are attacked, while rebuffing our only true ally in the region, Israel. It is not hard to imagine President Obama, in a second term, demanding that the United States Senate ratify a treaty containing just such anti-blasphemy language as is being proposed by the Islamic radicals who now rule the Middle East.
By the way, it is illegal in most of the Arab world to possess a Bible. So much for religious tolerance.
One aspect of the Muslim argument on this issue that is absolutely correct is their assertion that our “hate crimes” laws stand as evidence of our hypocrisy. Hate crimes laws are every bit as dangerous as the anti-blasphemy laws the Islamists are proposing. Such statutes stand in blatant opposition to our Constitution, which guarantees every American the right to say things that are unpopular. These laws spawn an atmosphere wherein pastors can be arrested for preaching against homosexuality or any other protected “lifestyle.” Hate crimes laws will most certainly, eventually, lead to the prosecution of expression that someone considers hate speech.
The First Amendment to our Constitution reads as follows: “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.”
Most Americans still take those words and those rights very seriously, because we consider them to be self-evident and bestowed upon us by our Creator. Like Jefferson, we tremble for our country when we contemplate the possibility that Islamic radicals, aided by a weak American president sympathetic to their cause, might be allowed to erase those words from our public life.
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. Astute supporters and inane detractors alike are encouraged to email him with their pithy comments at email@example.com.