Protesting the protesterKelvin Thomson (MP Wills) has objected to a protester holding a sign stating:`Behead those who insult Islam'I concur. (With Kelvin, not the protester.)
The right to criticize and protest is fundamentally important. In my view, that right extends to making statements that others might find insulting or a challenge to a dearly-held belief system. In order for civilization to be improved, we must all have the right --- and courage --- to offend the status quo.
But statements like `Behead those who insult Islam' are NOT protest, they are an incitement to mindless violence and repression of the right to protest. The idiot who brandishes such a placard is properly called a brainless hypocrite.
What to do with such people is a more difficult question. Deport them? Incarcerate them? My thoughts (which follow) cast doubt whether either of these actions can be properly taken in the narrow context of an isolated group of protesters.
First, it has to be recognized that anyone who states `Behead those who insult Islam' is NOT protesting. Rather, this is an act of conformity. It is what the religious text instructs!
Christians, Jews, and Muslims all subscribe to the notion that the Old Testament is the instructive word of God. Deuteronomy 13.6-9 clearly states:If anyone secretly entices you --- even if it is your brother, your father's son or your mother's son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend --- saying, `Let us go and worship other gods', whom neither you nor your ancestors have known, any of the gods of the peoples that are around you, whether near you or far away from you, from one end of the earth to the other, you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them. But you shall surely kill them; your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people.This is not negotiable. Fortunately, many Christians/Jews/Muslims simply turn a blind eye to such barbaric instruction.
They may turn a blind eye, but they still regard it to be the unalterable word of God. And there is the rub!
How can we hold the protester to account for brandishing that sign`Behead those who insult Islam'without also holding to account all those other religious folks who hold the Old Testament to be the unalterable word of God.
If the protester is to be condemned for inciting violence, then so we should denounce every Priest, every Rabbi, and every believer.
The simple fact of the matter is that the so-called religious extremists would be a lot less dangerous if the so-called religious moderates would only edit the really dangerous and silly stuff out of their holy books.