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The shift to promoting blasphemy laws as a defense against religious intolerance is a form of civil rights judo, pitting one freedom against another. It is the sort of tactic that the left is expert at and it is being used to mainstream Islamic blasphemy laws in this country.
Blasphemy laws could not pass muster as religious law, but they can pass as laws in defense of religious freedom and they are already becoming accepted as a “common sense” response to Muslim violence. Islamists and their fellow travelers understand quite well that if they stage enough violent incidents, then there will be restrictions on the sort of speech that appears to cause them to behave violently.
To accuse the culture that is the victim of violence of incitement to violence against the perpetrators of the violence is willfully perverse, but it has nevertheless become commonplace in Europe and is crossing the cold depths of the Atlantic Ocean to the United States.
Criticizing the official government position, Mitt Romney has said that he thinks, “It’s a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values.” But freedom of speech is not a value that is valued by the State Department or by the Obama Administration. It is only valued by those who need their speech unrestricted, rather than by a government that looks forward to restricting the freedom of speech of its political enemies.
The response in Cairo was much plainer. In Tahrir Square a scrawl of graffiti read, “If your freedom of speech has no limits, may you accept our freedom of action.” That threat neatly summarizes the problem. Freedom of speech, like all freedoms, must be actively defended by those who genuinely believe in it. Those who do not believe in freedom of speech will retreat in the face of violence and terror.
The Obama Administration, which brought in the Muslim Brotherhood and called on Americans to modify their speech according to Islamic sensibilities, whose commitment to soft power is second to none, is now faced with the reality that miming respect for Muslim values will not keep the Muslim mob from its door.
As Romney has pointed out, this government must choose between defending American values and defending Muslim values. As the last week has shown… it cannot do both.
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