Raping Islam

Sen. Jon Kyl, the Republican from Arizona, has compared Obama’s response to the movie about Muhammad to blaming the victim of a rape. It took me some time to understand what on Earth he was talking about. How is this filmmaker the victim of rape? The filmmaker chose to produce a movie that was intended to provoke a violent reaction from some Muslims.

A woman that dresses provocatively is not doing so to intentionally provoke a violent reaction from men. What this filmmaker has done in effect is to walk into a fundamentalist Christian church, pull down the figure of Christ, and burn bibles in the vestry. How would the average Evangelical react given this event? A far more apt description would be a woman that walks into a male-only army barracks and starts stripping down to her underwear. It would be clear that she was provoking a reaction from the men, as unwarranted as the reaction may be.

To Kyl, the filmmaker was clearly justified in his bigoted depiction of someones religion. He is sitting comfortably ensconced in Washington, while US diplomats in Muslim nations around the world have to deal with the fallout from this irresponsible act. It places their lives in danger, and as such, ought to be a punishable act. As Justice Scalia has pointed out, Free Speech does not give you the right to cry “Fire” in a crowded theater. Senator Kyl should be more responsible in his reaction and understand that US diplomats have to live in nations that may have violent reactions to films like this.

Mitt Romney predictably called the Presidents initial reaction to the violence “disgraceful”. He then claimed that the President sympathized with the attackers. The president condemned the violence in Libya, as well as condemning the filmmakers actions. Precisely what about the Presidents reaction was disgraceful? What was disgraceful was Romney’s disingenuous attack on the President, who clearly had not expressed sympathy with the attackers.

It is clear that Romney was incapable of waiting for the facts to emerge before condemning his opponent. If this is going to be his reaction to world events, it is clear that he is ineligible for the post of Commander in Chief. A courageous leader waits for the facts to emerge, evaluates them, and acts decisively, as Obama did in the Bin Laden raid. Romney clearly acts before he has the facts, the mark of an incompetent amateur.

Romney continues to attack the President saying that we should not apologize for our values. When did it become a value to make a poorly conceived, dishonest attack film, produced only to incite violence? Surely a people with values would consider all the ramifications of their actions before they act. Or do values include unwarranted trashing of other people’s religions? Incitement to violence is not a value to which civilized people should aspire.

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