Wednesday, February 15, 2006

We Are Not Amused

I like a good cartoon as much as the next guy, but when I find one that offends me I simply stop reading or looking.

All I can think of when I see people rioting over the content of a cartoon is that these people must really be lacking in meaningful things to do in their lives.

I understand that the cartoon in question represented their religious icon in an unfavorable manner, but why go on a rampage around the world? What possible influence do they think this will have other then demonstrating to the rest of the world that they are completely misguided lunatics?

Let's try to focus this topic where it might make more sense.

If you are Muslim, and someone of your faith created a cartoon to make fun of Muhammad, then you can shun them, kill them, or whatever Muslims feel they should do to make this right. Go crazy in your own little world.

Now, if people who are not of your faith create a cartoon making fun of your prophet, ignore them. They don't believe as you do, so they don't understand, nor care about, how they portray the prophet in anything they do. You should not care either, because you can view them as unenlightened dolts.

When someone placed a crucifix in a jar of urine and called it art, the Christians did not riot in the streets, killing people and generally being unruly now did they? Let's not even go into the large number of Christian cartoons that have been drawn constantly pretty much since cartoons have been in fashion.

The point is that just because someone else does not share your view of what is right and wrong concerning your religious beliefs, it does not give you the right to take to the streets killing and rioting as if you were some crazed mental patient.

It is precisely this type of attitude that will distance your message, and that of the prophet Muhammad, from others. Would Muhammad want his people to be known as uncontrollable idiots? I think not. Being a follower of any religion comes with a responsibility to show that religion in a positive light.

Many people already feel that the religious zealots of just about any religion attract unfavorable attention and don't really want them around. Christians don't want to be known for those who kill people in the name of their religion any more then Muslims want to be associated with those who flew planes into buildings in the United States.

What is so hard about practicing your belief without the need for violence?

Zealots who think violence will help get their message across to others are no better then criminals who commit violent acts, steal and murder. Like those criminals these zealots should be treated appropriately in the same fashion as their behavior. A religious belief based on killing everyone who does not believe as you do is not an enlightened philosophy, it is a barbaric throwback to a darker time in the evolution of society.

Personally, I don't think making cartoons that poke fun of anyone's belief system is an appropriate use of your time. When drawing cartoons some folks feel as though the medium used excuses the need for civilized behavior. Even some attacks on political issues have overstepped the bounds.

There will be those of you who will scream about the freedom of speech. Go right ahead. Freedoms go hand-in-hand with responsibility. Just because you have a freedom does not mean you can throw common sense and intelligence out the window and abuse the freedoms you enjoy. Being free to be an ass does not necessarily mean you should be.

I am not telling cartoonists they are banned from creating such cartoons, nor would I dream of stifling their right to the freedom of expression. What I am trying to say, is that perhaps a little self-restraint should be used before touching pen to the paper.

At the end of my writings I tend to leave you with the proverbial “nutshell”, and this one is no different.

In the case of the cartoonist vs. the Muslims, neither acted in accordance with the laws of common sense.

This world is getting smaller by the day and we all need to learn to get along and play well together. Those who feel the only acceptable action is to kill others who are different then they are need to just hop off this planet because you are not compatible with modern civilization. If you don't want to remove yourself from the gene pool then I'm certain eventually others will perform this community service for you.