Politics: Stop blaming 'The Movie' and stop assailing the 1st Amendment

Published by: Robert Laurie on Thursday September 13th, 2012

Robert Laurie

By - ROBERT LAURIE - The problem lies with global zealots - not with Free Speech

For the last two days, we’ve been inundated with statements.  Some from the President, some from the Secretary of State, and one from our Embassy in Cairo, all of them condemning the violent uprisings in Egypt and Libya. They also share another trait.  Without fail, they attack “The Movie” and the people who made it.

This is not to suggest support for Pastor Jones.  He’s an ugly little man, who’s funded an ugly little film.  He’s grandstanding reeks of bigotry and self-promotion.  But, he has every right to say whatever he wants – a fact our government seems eager to ignore.

This was clearest on Tuesday, when the Egyptian embassy released a message saying “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

Since then, we’ve heard the President say"We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, but there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence, none."

Secretary of state Clinton echoed the sentiment, saying “To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose, to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message." She then added: "There is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence."

Nearly every message of condemnation comes with the same kind of equivocation.  First Amendment be damned, this video is bad with a capital “B.”

Keep in mind that the film in question has not been released to theatres.  It hasn’t been shown on TV and it’s not being sold in stores.  If you want to see it, you have to choose to do so, and you’ll need to seek it out.  No one is forcing anyone to watch it. Yet, somehow, we’re supposed to believe that it has so deeply offended the masses that they’ve resorted to violence, rioting, and murder to make their feelings known.

For decades, Christians have been dealing with the same kind of offensive material.  Only, in their case, it’s everywhere, and it’s much more heavily promoted.  The clearest example was Martin Scorcese’s Last Temptation of Christ, a film which showed Jesus struggling with the temptations of a sexual relationship, and crushing self-doubt. 

Upon its release in 1988, the world was told that the artist’s free speech was unassailable.  The peaceful (in the U.S. at least) protests were the petty actions of a myopic, superstitious, gaggle of morons.  No one tried to appease them by condemning Scorcese.  Instead, those offended were labeled as idiots who “just don’t get it.”

Other countries ban films, and The Last Temptation of Christ was no exception.  America, we were told by the enlightened left, is better than that.  …and they were right.  We are "better than that."  Here, filmmakers have the freedom to make the movies they want, and people have the right view them if they wish.

Fast forward twenty years, and the same people who were desperate to argue in favor of The Last Temptation are lining up to condemn an ugly little flick that no one will likely see.

Even the Military has gotten in on the act. On Tuesday, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Pastor Jones with a request.

"In the brief call, Gen. Dempsey expressed his concerns over the nature of the film, the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause," Dempsey's spokesman, told Reuters. "He asked Mr. Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film."

No one from the government called John Cleese when Monty Python’s Life of Brian was released, and government officials don’t telephone Seth MacFarlane when Family Guy mocks Jesus on an almost weekly basis.  Only works depicting Muhammad seem to necessitate this kind of knee-jerk reaction, making the left-wing instinct to limit free speech truly baffling.

If an idiotic Youtube clip is going to set off global rioting and murder, the problem isn't with the first amendment. It lies with a worldwide mob of Zealots who are incapable of turning the other cheek. It’s time liberals had the temerity to stop blaming our rights, and place responsibility where it belongs.