Freedom of religion vs. Freedom of press

The U.S. State Department is siding with Muslims over the press in condemning cartoons depicting caricatures of the “Prophet Mohammed”. Spokesman David Cooper said, “We … 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.”
Am I the only one who finds this offending when night after night, television shows repeatedly portray Christians and even Christ in demeaning fashions? If anyone questions this, we need only to tune into “The Book of Daniel”, or “Will and Grace”. I guess it’s pretty clear that if Christians were terrorists, we would “get our way” when we complain about how our Lord is portrayed in the media. However, since instead we are law-abiding citizens who want to be seen as loving, we can be ridiculed at the whim of whatever writer wishes to do so. Where’s the press responsibility there?


  1. keener said,

    February 7, 2006 @ 1:15 pm

    A newspaper in Tehran is sponsoring a cartoon contest about the Holocaust.

    The point of the present controversy is not getting one’s way. It’s not even that the State Department is reacting to the reaction (which is, I know, the point of your post). I happen to believe that the State Department got it exactly right. There needs to be some accountability for ideas that are promulgated in the press. The assertion that these were *only* cartoons, and that Muslims should get over it is ridiculous. I would feel the same if someone drew a picture of Budda stomping on a bug or of a Hindu sitting down to a steak dinner. The point of the cartoons was never to report or inform, it was to inflame the opposition and galvanize those who agree.

    you can see the cartoons at the bottom of this article, and you can see why there is anger and outrage over them.

    The right to freedom of expression is an idol of narcissism, and the press too often leads the way.

  2. Pip said,

    February 9, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

    I’ll disagree and agree, Keener.

    First, I agree that the right to freedom of expression can be an idol of narcissism, and that the press too often leads the way.

    But the point of the controversy isn’t about not getting one’s way, it’s about the double-standard that exists in the world about how different religious groups are treated, and the nature of those groups beliefs to affect such a double-standard.

    As a Christian, I could easily be offended by any number of depictions of Christ, whether verbally or graphically (though I must admit that I took exception to the Larger Catechism’s Question 109 regarding the sins forbidden by the second commandment). But I’m not. First, because, consistent with my other Christian beliefs, I don’t feel called to violence or protest, nor do I even expect or hold accountable everyone to adhere to Christian beliefs. The Muslim protestors (and those who cow-tow to them) have a different point of view. The irony is that Christians (and Jews) have more of a “cause” to be offended than Muslims, for whom it’s not even clear that such imagery is forbidden.

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