I am offended when the Pope argues against using condoms in Africa, even though they would help to prevent the spread of AIDS. I am offended by the treatment of women by Christian and Islamic religious traditions. I am offended by the way that Judaism treats homosexuals. But just because I am offended by these things does not give me the right to prevent others from believing them, or to try to stop them from acting in accordance with their beliefs.He's right. You have the right to believe the moon is made of green cheese. I have the right to tell you you're a fool. However, I have to bear in mind that, by doing so, I'm insulting you, so I'll generally be careful how I say it, and the context. If sat in a seminar room, fine, if we're in a pub, you're drunk, and built like a brick shithouse, I'd be the fool for calling you out on your insane beliefs.
Just because you can publish something, doesn't mean you should. Those media outlets that keep printing them are, now, provoking more reactions and feeding extremists on both sides. If anyone wants to look at them, they're all over the place online. They're not being censored, they're not being repressed, they're just bloody stupid, unfunny and crap. A lot of the complaints and furore is being caused by the aggressive obstinacy of the need to publish them.
Extremists have taken control; embassies are under attack (and I wonder how many of the attackers have seen the cartoons, and if so, were the fake ones included?), lunatic fringe organisations are protesting in London. Lest we forget, Hizb ut Tahir is on the Govts "We'll ban them whent he legislation is passed" list of undesirable organisations, tis they organising the London marches.
Idiotic media types are stoking fires, dangerous extremists are stoking fires, and many of us are looking on and hoping the idiots will calm down.
I'd like to link to and quote from an article I wrote awhileback about the right to cause offense. I can't, blogger and blog-spot are playing up. I am absolutely free to condemn religion. But generally I find it best not to do so in the face of an angry crowd who feel insulted, many of whom probably have no real knowledge of the actual issue, only what they've been told. Muslim extremists shouting about cartoons, Christian "voice" complaining about a musical they'd never even watched, all adherents to a misguided delusion that there is some higher power to which they owe their allegiance.
People matter, life matters. The whole world is just being bloody stupid. Calm down FFS.