Monday, April 25, 2011

Free speech, even for Jones

Pastor Terry Jones attempted another of his inane protests, this time in Dearborn, Michigan, where there is a sizable Muslim population. He got arrested for it. So now I find myself in the sickening position of defending that religious bigot.

I've been critical of Pastor Jones in this blog. For the record, I consider him to be an asshole. I hate the motivations he has for the things that he says and does in these protests. He is pretty much in a pissing contest with Muslims over who has the better imaginary friend. What an insufferable prick.

But he has the right to speak. He has a right to burn books he owns. He has a right to be offensive. He has those rights because free speech, especially unpopular speech, is protected. No one has to like a thing that ignorant fuck has to say. We can and should exercise our right to free speech to speak out against him. But I'm not comfortable with the government denying him his rights, even though he makes me angry.

A poor argument has been made that Pastor Jones will incite violence and murder if allowed to insult Muslims, which misapplies the blame. Does Jones promote harmony? No. But the incitement to violence that led to the murders of UN workers earlier this month was undertaken by imams in Afganistan who took advantage of Jones' idiocy to whip crowds into a murderous frenzy. I think Jones is foolishly playing with fire, but I'm not comfortable accusing him of inciting violence. At least not within the narrow confines of criminal incitement as a legal restriction on free speech. 

Ugh... I've in a way just defended the religious bigot Terry Jones. I feel dirty, but upholding the principle of free speech isn't about what feels good.


Anne said...

You are absolutely right. We can't legislate the Asshole any more than we can legislate the Stupid.

I protest by forgetting his name after every single time I read about him.

Wait - this is the funeral protesting Asshole?

Billtannica said...

Nope. This the the Koran burning asshole from Florida. The funeral protesting assholes are from Kansas. LOL