Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Suggestion for an Easier 5767

Recently, the New York Times urged Pope Benedict XVI to apologize for making a speech in a Western, non-Muslim majority country in which he indirectly criticized Islam. At the same time, the Times wants it to be known that the White House of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney is whittling away at the Bill of Rights and the ability of the New York Times to freely criticize how the president is running the war on terror. There have been times when I’ve sensed that to a point, the New York Times might actually have a point. At others, such as now, I’m moved to be more than a little critical of the hypocrisy I’m seeing.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t pick and choose, and then expect commonsensical people to sympathize with you. It’s “All, or nothing at all,” as Sinatra sang. In my view, you should not speak out against a presidential administration for allegedly assaulting free speech by telling American media outlets not to say certain things, and then tell America that the pope shouldn’t say certain things – lest the rancor of the Muslim world be raised. Either freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press are to be preserved, respected and protected entirely, within reason but without exception, or not at all.

You can’t effectively win the hearts and minds of people to your cause, people who know what it is to think for themselves and who understand the value of free speech, free expression, and freedom of the press, by holding the president accountable for supposedly assaulting the free press in the name of national security and then, later, contradict yourself by implying that free speech must be curbed in the name of national security if we are to avoid bringing upon ourselves Muslim reprisals for one offense or another to Islam, either imagined or genuine.

Giving into their fear of Islamism, U.S. media outlets rush to genuflect before those who, by firebombing churches, protest against linking Islam with violence. European newspapers aren’t supposed to print Muhammad cartoons, but it’s perfectly acceptable for Saudi and Qatari newspapers to print cartoons of horned, slobbering, hook-nosed Jews. The pope must apologize for indirectly criticizing Islam, but Muslims need not apologize for racist comments, such as Palestinian newspapers calling Condoleeza Rice “the black spinster”.

Why are we so confused? If we’re not fighting for our right to speak our minds, to worship God as we wish (or not at all), and to govern ourselves as we please, then for what are we fighting? For the hell of it? For the fun of it? I didn’t realize we all enjoyed war so much, and the sadness, death and destruction it brings with it.

I know it’s easier to give in than face the uncertainty that often comes with adversity. When the going gets tough, the weak-willed retreat. I know. I know, I know, I know. We might be a world of six billion people, and Muslims might only number a billion or so, but there’s obviously little point in trying.

So, since too many people are too scared to stand up straight, look Islamist Bullies and their sympathizers squarely in the eyes, and say “enough is enough”, I’ve got the solution: Why bother? Let’s just surrender now, convert to Islam, and save ourselves the trouble of standing up for what we believe in. That would certainly make things easier, right? Am I wrong? We wouldn’t have to worry about little things like democratic values, tolerance, or women’s rights. Bring on the female circumcision and honor killings!

And now, Shana Tova!

Happy New Year to my fellow Jews celebrating Rosh HaShana this weekend. May the year 5767 be a year of sweetness, success, health, happiness and safety for me, and for all of my other infidel friends and family members as well!

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