What if I created an ideology that said Muslims are the most vile animal in the world, who are ignorant, niggardly, diseased, disobedient criminals and sinful liars, whose hearts are hardend, and who are deaf, dumb, and blind? Would you think that Muslims would find that offensive? Would you think many non-Muslims would find that offensive about Muslims? You probably guessed the answer is yes. And you probably guessed that such an ideology would be considered bigoted, Islamophobic hate speech, and perhaps even racist to many as well. Such adherents to this ideology would be routinely discriminated against and mocked with bitter disgust and no doubt most liberals would equate them with the Nazis or the KKK.
Well, this is exactly what Islam says about unbelievers, be they Christians or Jews, polytheists or atheists. And yet, Islam is not considered hate speech, nor is it considered bigoted or racist or anything else like that to most people. So how does Islam get away with such a double standard? Oh, that's right — it's a religion, and not only that, it's a minority religion. Once something operates under the title of "religion" it gets a privileged status. Criticizing it becomes "offensive" to an adherent's cherished beliefs and the PC police will come out in full swing at anyone who dares offend a believer. Meanwhile, the Muslim gets to espouse all the hateful rhetoric he wants from the Mosque, or the street, about how wicked and diseased us non-believers are with virtual impunity — because he's just doing what his religion says.
This is madness.
I'm supposed to be concerned about offending him? What about my sentiments? If we're going to truly live up to the standards set out by the PC police then let's at least be fair. If it's politically incorrect for me to have an ideology that calls Muslims the vilest of animals and sinful disobedient liars, then it's politically incorrect for Muslims to have a religion that says the same thing about non-believers. So that means we're going to have to censor the Qur'an to make it PC friendly. Or, we're going to have to ban it altogether. And while we're at it, let's do the same to the Bible and the Book of Mormon. They each have hateful, sexist, or homophobic bigoted rhetoric. How's that sound? Why don't we all consider how offended atheists are when they are told mean, nasty things in religious texts? Don't we all believe in fairness and equality?
Well, a recent poll by Pew showed that 40% of US millennials favor the government preventing people from saying offensive things to minority groups. That would include all atheists, the "nones," and all the non-Christian religious groups, as well as sexual minorities. This, I think, is a sign of a growing problem. And that problem is that political correction in many respects has gone too far and even liberals are beginning to speak out against it. What I wrote above demonstrates just how absurd we can get if we set our goal to not ever offend anyone or any minority. I think Muslims should be able to spout their silly ideas all they want, and so should all other religious adherents. And I should be able to criticize their religions all I want as well. I'm disturbed by the growing number of millennials desiring that the government step in and limit freedom of speech. We should be advocating for the exact opposite. Nothing can be more offensive that the government deciding who can and can not be criticized. That's what the Saudis do. That's what the Iranians do. That's what the North Koreans do. I know millennials think of themselves as well-intentioned in supporting limitations on speech to protect minorities, but I don't trust any government deciding what's offensive and telling me or anyone else what can and cannot be said about any group or idea. Freedom of speech includes the license to offend.
Welcome to Atheism and the City. This blog is about exploring atheism through contemporary urban living. I live in New York City, the secular metropolis, and I have an avid interest in all things religion, science, philosophy, politics, and economics. I am an atheist, a humanist, a philosopher and a thinker, and the purpose of Atheism and the City is to write about my thoughts and experiences on the subjects and topics that I have a passion for. Feel free to respond to any post whether or not you agree.