#1 Muslims, Mormons and Liberals: Why is it OK to mock one religion but not another?09-30-2012, 12:03 PM
Stephens: Muslims, Mormons and Liberals
Why is it OK to mock one religion but not another?
- By BRET STEPHENS
'Hasa Diga Eebowai" is the hit number in Broadway's hit musical "The Book of Mormon," which won nine Tony awards last year. What does the phrase mean? I can't tell you, because it's unprintable in a family newspaper.
On the other hand, if you can afford to shell out several hundred bucks for a seat, then you can watch a Mormon missionary get his holy book stuffed—well, I can't tell you about that, either. Let's just say it has New York City audiences roaring with laughter.
Why is it OK to mock one religion but not another? Columnist Bret Stephens joins Opinion Journal.
The "Book of Mormon"—a performance of which Hillary Clinton attended last year, without registering a complaint—comes to mind as the administration falls over itself denouncing "Innocence of Muslims." This is a film that may or may not exist; whose makers are likely not who they say they are; whose actors claim to have known neither the plot nor purpose of the film; and which has never been seen by any member of the public except as a video clip on the Internet.
No matter. The film, the administration says, is "hateful and offensive" (Susan Rice), "reprehensible and disgusting" (Jay Carney) and, in a twist, "disgusting and reprehensible" (Hillary Clinton). Mr. Carney, the White House spokesman, also lays sole blame on the film for inciting the riots that have swept the Muslim world and claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff in Libya.
So let's get this straight: In the consensus view of modern American liberalism, it is hilarious to mock Mormons and Mormonism but outrageous to mock Muslims and Islam. Why? Maybe it's because nobody has ever been harmed, much less killed, making fun of Mormons.
Here's what else we learned this week about the emerging liberal consensus: That it's okay to denounce a movie you haven't seen, which is like trashing a book you haven't read. That it's okay to give perp-walk treatment to the alleged—and no doubt terrified—maker of the film on legally flimsy and politically motivated grounds of parole violation. That it's okay for the federal government publicly to call on Google to pull the video clip from YouTube in an attempt to mollify rampaging Islamists. That it's okay to concede the fundamentalist premise that religious belief ought to be entitled to the highest possible degree of social deference—except when Mormons and sundry Christian rubes are concerned.
Associated Press/Boneau/Bryan-Brown'The Book of Mormon' performed at New York's Eugene O'Neill Theatre
And, finally, this: That the most "progressive" administration in recent U.S. history will make no principled defense of free speech to a Muslim world that could stand hearing such a defense. After the debut of "The Book of Mormon" musical, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded with this statement: "The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."
That was it. The People's Front for the Liberation of Provo will not be gunning for a theater near you. Is it asking too much of religious and political leaders in Muslim communities to adopt a similar attitude?
It needn't be. A principled defense of free speech could start by quoting the Quran: "And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation." In this light, the true test of religious conviction is indifference, not susceptibility, to mockery.
The defense could add that a great religion surely cannot be goaded into frenetic mob violence on the slimmest provocation. Yet to watch the images coming out of Benghazi, Cairo, Tunis and Sana'a is to witness some significant portion of a civilization being transformed into Travis Bickle, the character Robert De Niro made unforgettable in Taxi Driver. "You talkin' to me?"
A defense would also point out that an Islamic world that insists on a measure of religious respect needs also to offer that respect in turn. When Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi—the closest thing Sunni Islam has to a pope—praises Hitler for exacting "divine punishment" on the Jews, that respect isn't exactly apparent. Nor has it been especially apparent in the waves of Islamist-instigated pogroms that have swept Egypt's Coptic community in recent years.
Finally, it need be said that the whole purpose of free speech is to protect unpopular, heretical, vulgar and stupid views. So far, the Obama administration's approach to free speech is that it's fine so long as it's cheap and exacts no political price. This is free speech as pizza.
President Obama came to office promising that he would start a new conversation with the Muslim world, one that lectured less and listened more. After nearly four years of listening, we can now hear more clearly where the U.S. stands in the estimation of that world: equally despised but considerably less feared. Just imagine what four more years of instinctive deference will do.
On the bright side, dear liberals, you'll still be able to mock Mormons. They tend not to punch back, which is part of what makes so many of them so successful in life.
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A version of this article appeared September 18, 2012, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Muslims, Mormons and Liberals.
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09-30-2012, 01:40 PM
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
Liberals protects radical islam because they both share a common hatred...America and what it stands for.
09-30-2012, 05:19 PM
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- Mar 2010
09-30-2012, 05:23 PM
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- Mar 2010
09-30-2012, 11:15 PM
10-01-2012, 10:02 AM
Free speech is free speech. One should be able to mock any religion without fearing for his life.
Unfortunately, one religion has factions who kill those who mock their religion.
I should point out that I saw an interview with Parker and Stone around the time the musical debuted-they basically said that they mock Mormons, but that they actually love Mormons, too. As much as I find most of the Mormon religion to be a con that some guy thought up so he could get lots of p*$$y, it is a uniquely American religion, and it has it's place in American history.
10-01-2012, 10:49 AM
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- Apr 2012
10-01-2012, 11:22 AM
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- Apr 2004
- The Swamps of N. Florida
The answer to this is really simple. Most other religions don't riot, shoot people, set cars and buildings on fire and cut off people's heads in the name(s) of their deity/deities. The adherents of most other belief systems don't strap homicide vests on their bodies and blow them selves up in crowded cafes or packed bus stops. Most followers of other religions at least have respect for their own lives if not the lives of others.
Now from a Christian perspective, why should Satan be concerned when one of his followers kills him or herself. He achieves what he wants, another soul condemned to hell. Satan has lost the war and he knows it. Now he seeks to take as many down in to the pit with him as possible. Whether it be the committed Muslim dying in his name or merely the unsaved sitting in a cafe having lunch, it is all the same to the Devil. Another soul denied to God.
10-01-2012, 12:57 PM
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- Mar 2010
Unfortunately, no religious group passes the test of goodness or charity. But then why would we expect them to. You rarely hear about the Rohingya people of Burma and if you have it was probably from Amy Goodman bewailing their persecution by the Burmese Buddhists. Imagine that, Buddhists hurting other people? Except that the Rohingya people are Muslims and like Muslims everywhere they are connected to Pakistan's leadership, they seek autonomy within the nation of another. The fact that they have been doing this for a thousand years seems to confuse liberals, who love an underdog. The Buddhists of Burma are not stupid, nor blind, nor cruel. They know that if they do not rid their country of the Muslims then they will reproduce like rabbits until they can take over.
Why does this escape the mind of the kind and gentle American?
10-01-2012, 03:22 PM
All Religions are a construct of man and as such are fallible , some more so than others. All mans constructs should be subject to earnest & critical analysis. Being a new religion doesn't automatically make it wrong as being an old religion doesn't make it right. The Christian religions being one of the oldest religions of modern man have stood the test of analysis of believers and non believers alike for over 2000 years. In fact the more some have tried to disprove the tenants of the Christian religions the more they have proven the gospels to be true.
The same can not be said of Islam.
There are many things I may disagree with about the Church LDS . That said as far as practitioners of a particular faith abiding by the constructs of their faith I believe overall the Mormons do the best at talking the talk & walking the walk.The 21st century. The age of Smart phones and Stupid people.
It is said that branches draw their life from the vine. Each is separate yet all are one as they share one life giving stem . The Bible tells us we are called to a similar union in life, our lives with the life of God. We are incorporated into him; made sharers in his life. Apart from this union we can do nothing.
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