Yes, I know that it's verboten to draw images of Mohammad and all, but I find it hard to work up much sympathy for the whole "death to anyone who insults my religion" attitude.
What's next? Riots when someone implies the Bible isn't the literal word of God? Smashed windows if one questions the divinity of the Dailai Lama? Widespread looting if someone says the Pope wears a funny hat?
I don't want to dismiss anyone's religious beliefs. I know the issue is complicated and all.
I guess I should not be surprised, however, by the Bush administration's position. When forced to choose between freedoms protected by our Bill of Rights and a bunch of religious extremists, one guess who they side with:
Inserting itself into a dispute that has become a lightning rod for anti-European sentiment across the Muslim world, the United States sided with Muslims outraged that the publications put press freedom over respect for religion.
"These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims," State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said in answer to a question.
"We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable."
I don't think it too far of a leap for them to apply the same logic to a cartoon depicting Jesus decrying the injustice of tax cuts for the wealthy or for starting an unprovoked war.
The world sure has changed since Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses unleashed the fatwas. The death sentence for an author writing a book was fodder for late night TV jokes. Now such anti-humanist attitudes are endorsed by the U.S. government.