At the Daily Beast, John Avlon has a strong round-up of reactions to Comedy Central’s decision to censor images and references to Muhammad in the latest episode of South Park, including Islam-reform advocates Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji, and South Park Conservatives author Brian Anderson. They reinforce the same messages that NewsReal has been discussing all week—the un-American nature of censorship, the barbarism of radical Islam, and the futility of appeasing thugs.
In particular, Avlon highlights Manji’s petition against death threats, which you should all sign:
“It’s ridiculous enough that extremist thugs put Islam’s human prophet on some pedestal, engaging in idolatry of their own,” she told me. “But the fact these arrogant fools operate from New York City reminds us that open societies need to be defended—for everyone’s freedom to believe as they choose. When I and fellow writers got a similar death threat from ummah.com, a site run out of Britain, we created a petition promoting human rights and secular values for all. To date, it’s got thousands of signatures from both Muslims and non-Muslims. Readers can still sign their names and cities. It’s a fast way of telegraphing to radical Islamists that their death threats won’t chill our consciences. There’s strength in numbers.”
The main substance of the controversy has already been skillfully explored by others here at NewsReal, but there are two further observations I think are worth making.
First, a minor disagreement with John L. Work: as pathetic as Bill O’Reilly’s squishiness on the issue is, I have a hard time believing Saudi money is dictating the opinions of Fox personalities. These days Fox is still getting bashed by the usual suspects for “anti-Islam” propaganda as much as they’ve always been—just last moth, Sean Hannity ran a brutal interview with Mosab Hasan Yousef, the ex-Muslim son of Hamas’ founder, and today Fox has a candid report on the American Muslim who originally posted the latest threat against Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
O’Reilly’s milquetoast reaction to this latest flare-up from the Religion of Perpetual Outrage is entirely consistent with, and better attributed to, his long-standing shtick of playing the centrist, “non-partisan” populist who’s supposedly above the fray of lesser “ideologues.”
The larger point I want to make is this: the Left’s reaction to Islamic fanaticism completely puts the lie to their broader hostility toward religion as a whole. Violent, authoritarian, bigoted, irrational, self-righteous, arrogant—Islam as practiced by Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee and his ilk actually is everything leftists routinely accuse American Christianity of being. Yet it is Islam, and not Christianity, that they bend over backwards to interpret with “nuance” and “understanding”: How dare the Right malign a religion of peace?
The reason is simple: the Left’s crusade against religion has nothing to do with concern for rationalism, personal liberty, or freedom of thought and conscience, and everything to do with the centrality of traditional Judeo-Christian values to the America that they seek to transform. Indeed, it is precisely because Christians by and large aren’t dangerous that leftists feel they can get away with saying they are. Never mind that Islamic radicalism poses the far greater threat to left-wing notions of traditional morality in the long run; traditional Christians are the more immediate foe. As Avlon points out, the censored episode also depicted Jesus watching porn. And the uproar from Christians and the mainstream media over that blasphemous depiction of a religious leader is…where?
I’d like to thank Comedy Central for unwittingly exposing the Left’s true priorities, better than any of us ever could.