Respecting the Religious Beliefs of Others Versus Thuggery

After the killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya (and three others) and the storming of the American embassy in Egypt, people are looking to lay blame. Some are saying those who create material (art, writings, etc.) offensive to other people’s religions should have some culpability for these violent acts.

Of course we should respect the religious beliefs of others. But I don’t believe people who create art, poetry, literature, film, etc. should be in fear of a very small group of people who will use violence to ensure you say or do nothing that offends them. The offending group gets to determine what’s offensive and then go on a killing spree if they determine you were.

Some have offered the analogy of yelling “fire” in a movie theatre. That is an interesting reference, but doesn’t apply here in my opinion.

As an example, go to any major art museum and you will see numerous works of art that portray various components of life quite negatively, including major religious figures. Should all of those works of art be taken down and never displayed again because a small group of people somewhere in the world will kill innocent people in retaliation?

If a novelist writes a historical novel and there is content in that novel that depicts a particular religion very unfavorably, should that novel be censored because…well, you get the idea.

Creators of all forms of art will forever be on pins and needles that they may have said/done something that will evoke a violent reaction. Something not quite right there.

It’s not an indictment on an entire group or religion. This is not an anti-Muslim statement. it’s a statement that we can’t let thugs, whatever their religion may be, stifle the creative efforts of others because they’re prepared to exact the ultimate revenge.

In the final analysis, we should ALL respect the religious beliefs of others, but if we’re going to force people to do so, then the thugs have won. I don’t want to play by their rules.

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