Over at Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta writes about his support for group s to draw pictures of Muhammad. He says,
You never hear about Hindus walking into McDonald’s and telling the manager they’re not allowed to use beef products anymore.
If they did, we would laugh it off. We’d say that’s absurd because non-Hindus don’t have to follow their rules.
But what if the Hindu radicals committed a violent act against the manager? We’d be furious.
What if moderate Hindus said it was offensive for someone else to eat a Big Mac? We’d say that’s crazy.
In response to all that, I think it would be perfectly appropriate to stage a peaceful sit-in where all participants ate Big Macs.
It wouldn’t be anti-Hinduism nor would anyone be purposely trying to piss off Hindus by doing that. It would just be a show of solidarity by those who believe that only Hindus need to abide by their religious beliefs, not anyone else.
That’s what we’re doing by drawing these Muhammad images.
Later in the post, he added this video discussion of the topic which I think is very important to pass forward.
10 thoughts on “Mehta: Why I Support Drawing Muhammad”
Oh crap, all my pseudocode got stripped out. I was trying to use ColdFusion to represent Mohammad. Oh well.
Damn. Oh well. I kind of like what’s left though. That totally looks like muhammad to me.
Do you really think this Hindu analogy makes sense? Hindu’s aren’t upset about us eating meat. I haven’t seen massive and worldwide protests of Hindu’s peacefully asking us to refrain from eating meat. A tiny fraction of Muslims engaged in protests that sparked clashes. These things do happen, especially in a country like Nigeria. For this we should take the opportunity to piss off a billion people?
I said at Hemant’s blog that a better analogy needs to use an example where the action is truly offensive to the sensibilities of the target. The example I gave was suppose an elderly Christian was violent towards a pornography distributor. Should we proceed to shove pornography in the faces of elderly Christians that peacefully object to pornography? Is this how we go about making the world a better place?
Hypothetically, I think any religious analogy steeped in paranoia might work. That’s why Mehta said it hypothetically. The hindu stereotype for bovine worship is more affective than an elderly American esoteric view of porn. I’ve never heard of one elderly person who protested pornography, but I know lifelong Hindus who abstain from meat consumption.
The point is not about the Hindu view of cows. It’s about how nothing is sacred, not even atheism. You should have every right, without so much of an inkling of fear, to speak your mind.
While you think that the “friendly” atheist has gone astray or been led awry by a wave of atheist influence, this is how I felt as a Christian. It’s how I feel as an atheist. Some of the best comedy about Christianity I’ve ever heard was from die-hard Christians in underground comedy rooms here in Chicago.
The fear created from Muslims, or any religious group, when they are offended does not belong in the world.
And, yes, this is how we make the world a better place, through challenging thought leaders and opening free speech to any and all subjects.
***EDIT*** Perhaps a better analogy might be to say, “I should kill you for calling me an asshole, as you said on your blog.” That’s as asinine as it is for the Muslim to get boo-hooey about drawings of an Arab opportunist from the 600s.
You’ve never known one elderly person to protest pornography? Do you know any elderly evangelicals? I’ve seen letters to the editor from Christians offended at artistic paintings of the bare human form.
Of course I know the point is not about the Hindu view of cows. I know you should have a right to speak whatever you want to speak. Nobody is denying that it is asinine to kill someone for calling you an ass hole. It seems you are failing to get my point.
My point is the vast majority of the Muslim world is peaceful and in fact protested peacefully, which they likewise have every right to do. Because these protest resulted in a few isolated clashes, which is almost inevitable in crowds like this, especially when one religious group is confronted by another hostile religious group, the atheist world has decided to punish the entire Muslim world by being obnoxious. Let’s combine this with the fact that our government, which only we have the ability to control, has been slaughtering Muslims by the millions for years. Rather than being pricks shouldn’t we instead go out of our way to be gracious to these suffering people.
Again, to be clear, I absolutely object to any violence perpetuated by Muslims against anyone for drawing anything. But what I think is asinine is organizing an effort to be obnoxious to a beleaguered group like Muslims. You want to be obnoxious? Be obnoxious to those that produce the mountain of Muslim corpses that exist in the Middle East.
Jon, I appreciate your feedback. I really do.
Could you be missing the point? I mean, I know I could be missing yours.
You’re talking to the wrong guy about pornography and old people. At my wedding, there was an exhibit that included full on pornography, and we had plenty of elderly present who are hands-down the most religious people I know. Perhaps I am known to them as “obnoxious.”
If Muslims are really “peaceful” than the “peaceful” ones won’t be upset by the actions of another group. It’s the marginal groups that need a kick in the teeth.
What’s odd is, I don’t give a rat’s ass about drawing Muhammad and I’m defending it to you, because you have a pencil up your ass about atheists, and what you think is obnoxious. Who the fuck cares what you think is obnoxious?
As a Christian, I would have felt the EXACT same way about this as I do as an atheist. I’ve had plenty of conversations with Christians how appalled they are about it. You’re directing a superfluous load of energy toward atheists. Or are you fulfilling the agnostic stereotype and being a lazy atheist who can’t find anything worth while to kvetch about?
You say “If Muslims are really peaceful then they won’t be upset by the actions of another group.” Peaceful people never get upset due to actions of certain groups? Ghandi never got upset by actions of certain groups? I’m not sure how to respond to that except to say that you should maybe have a look at the world.
“Who the fuck cares what I think is obnoxious?” Hmmm. I guess I don’t know. This is the comment section of a blog and most blogs I visit have comments in order for discussion to occur. People can express themselves, exchange ideas. Provoke thought. So I’m commenting for those purposes not because anybody cares what I think. Maybe that’s not the way it works here.
I think it’s a worthwhile discussion because I think encouraging people to have some perspective is good. In my view excess energy is being spent in efforts to be obnoxious towards Muslims, which if anything will probably drive them into further extremism. Shouldn’t our energy focus more on the mountain of Muslims corpses we’re creating, which also drives them to further extremism? I like that idea because I like the idea of looking in the mirror first and fixing your own problems before kvetching about the sins of others which you can’t control anyway.
It would seem hostility is a natural reaction for you, so I guess I can see why your approach of kicking more sand in the face of Muslims makes sense.