The Price of Free Speech

September 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Moral obligation, ethics, honor, integrity, and humanity…a few words that should be taken into account when exercising the First Amendment right to free speech.

The course of American history has seen the concept of free speech molded and twisted to meet the agendas of countless misguided “causes” and charlatans, but recently there seems to be an uptick. A perfect example of this is the upcoming “International Burn a Quran Day” planned by Pastor Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Center for September 11th. Unfortunately, this Florida evangelical Christian church is practicing the worst type of demagoguery under the guise of free speech claiming it is meant to send a message to al-Qaida. Pastor Jones attempts to categorize the congregation’s actions by stating, “We are not hateful toward Muslims. We are not aiming this at Muslims, we are aiming this at Sharia law.” No matter how the church tries to justify it’s actions the truth of the matter is they are desecrating a sacred religious text that has great meaning and value no matter who you are.

Unintended consequences (at least I hope they are unintended) could come in the form of retaliation against those overseas whether they be military or civilian personnel. David Petraeus, the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan is forced to look at the foolish actions of this group from an entirely different perspective and remarked, “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world, we are engaged with the Islamic community.”

Furthermore NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “I strongly condemn that. I think it’s a disrespectful action and in general I really urge people to respect other people’s faith and behave respectfully. I think such actions are in strong contradiction with all the values we stand for and fight for,” I fear we are losing the battle with certain segments of the American population, arrogance is rampant and educating or teaching tolerance is a difficult task when dealing with an arrogant student/culture.

What is being carried out here is perfectly legal, but as an American I am ashamed and embarrassed by the actions these people are taking in the name of religion and country. The hate we are breeding, the retaliatory consequences of our actions, the loss of friends, allies, and general respect are all the price of free speech.

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