Monday, February 06, 2006

Urinary Crucifix Art and Turban Bombs

Is this offensive?
In a word, yes.

How about this?

[muddle around Google Images, looking for a picture of the 1990ish art work depicting a crucifix in a jar of urine, could only find this:]

Trying to access first broken image, I get:

Oh, wait, I can't access any images of the infamous "P-I-S-S Christ" art because of my CyberPatrol. In fact, I can't even type the word without hyphens (I've learned a thing or two from spammers!) - all I get is this: ....

Still, I'm glad somebody out there, somewhere, thinks that a pee-soaked Christ is offensive or inappropriate.

Driving home listening to CBC radio, I heard an interview with a British Muslim, or is it Muslish Briton, or Islimey - eh, whatever. Point is, I heard him say something like, "Free speech is fine and necessary in a democratic society. But there's a problem when what you say or depict offends somebody."

I must confess, I had a jolly laugh for the rest of the ride home. For when else is free speech truly free than when it's free to offend? When else is free speech necessary, than when speech would be denied? This cha....aying [LOL - that should be "chap" "is" "saying" - notice the order of the four letters CyberPatrol omitted? That's too funny to correct. I swear I didn't plan it. If you don't get it, email me!] that free speech should only be allowed under certain circumstances.

I'm no scholar, but I can tell you - that's not free speech. If speech is limited based on a condition, then it's not free. Not that the limitation would be bad, but don't go around calling what you support "free speech" if it means that I (or you) can't say nasty things about whomever I (or you) wish - including you (or me).

"Free," by the way, does not mean "without consequences." It means able to decide with no external and hostile restrictions imposed. If I am in an Iranian mosque and draw a picture of Mohammed and immerse it in a jug of pig urine for an artistic statement, I have exercised my right to speak my mind. If, however, I happen to be torn to shreds by the frenzied zeal of a radical horde, well, at least I got to speak my mind. It better have been worth it.

I will be the last person to justify Islamic violence against Denmark and other European countries, whose newspapers have, in a surprising display of sudden backbone, reprinted the offending caricatures as a sign of solidarity. I do support the Muslim world's right to boycott Danish products (does this mean the price of Lego will come down?), but violence over an image? Come on. Christianity has endured far worse offences, and we don't kick and scream like that.

Part of me wonders though, if we're not seeing the beginning of a massive global shift in awareness of the rage of Islam. I know a few Muslims, socially and through work. They're pretty decent folk, as far as I can tell. They work hard, they cover their mouths when they sneeze, and a few of them even send their kids to the local Catholic elementary school. And yet only half a world away are Muslims who profess to believe the same teachings, and would love to saw off my Crusading head on national TV for the greater glory of God.

I really want to know - who are the ones not being true to their faith?

Well, I must be off. Since I support the Danes...

...I should go and buy some Lego. My wife will understand. "It's for democracy, dear!"

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