"Geller’s critics also do not understand that radical Islam has already cut a huge swath out of American free speech through more than a decade of death threats. Ever since 9/11, they have largely succeeded by demanding special rules for public discourse about Islam in a way accorded no other religion. Disagree, and one is branded “Islamophobic,” as that now-ubiquitous buzzphrase “hate speech” magically pops up. Of course, when other so-called artists have desecrated Christian images, they operated on the belief not just that they would not be harmed, but that, as in “Piss Christ,” they would actually be subsidized by the U.S. government.
One wonders what the current apologists would have said about Nazi book burning. Did not Freudian writers and modern artists grasp that their work would offend traditional National Socialists who sought only to bring back balance to artistic and literary expression? Why then would they continue to produce abstract paintings or publish Jungian theories about sexual repression, when they must have known that such works would only provoke blood-and-soil Nazis? And had Jews just left Germany en masse by 1935 or gone into hiding, would not Hitler have cooled his anti-Semitic rhetoric? Why did some Jews insist on staying in a clearly Aryan nation, when they must have known that their ideas — indeed, their mere presence — could only provoke Nazis to violence?
Apparently there is no longer a First Amendment as our Founders wrote it, but instead something like an Orwellian Amendment 1.5, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press — except if someone finds some speech hurtful, controversial, or not helpful.”
Cowardice abounds. When artists and writers mock Mormonism in a Broadway play like the Book of Mormon or use urine or excrement to deface Christian symbols, no Christian gang seeks to curb such distasteful expression — much less to kill anyone. Every religion but Islam knows that its iconography is fair game for caricature in the United States; none sanctions assassins. Jihadists seek to make this asymmetry quite clear to Western societies and thereby provide deterrence that gives Islam special exemption from Western satire and criticism in a way not accorded to other religions. And they are enabled by Westerners who prefer tranquility to freedom of expression.
Among those who attack free expression the most loudly are progressives who do not like politically incorrect speech that does not further their own agendas. The term “illegal alien,” an exact description of foreign nationals who entered and reside in the United States without legal sanction, is now nearly taboo. The effort to ban the phrase is not because it is hateful or inaccurate, but because it does not euphemistically advance the supposedly noble cause of amnesties and open borders. Of course, the politically correct restrictionists have no compunction about smearing their critics with slurs such as xenophobe, racist, or nativist.
If a Christian cake decorator does not wish to use his skills to celebrate gay marriage — an innovation that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama opposed until very recently — on a wedding cake, then he is rendered a homophobe who must be punished for not using his artistic talents in the correct way.
Note that we are not talking about nondiscrimination concerning fundamental civil rights such as voting, finding housing, using public facilities, or purchasing standard merchandise. Meanwhile, are we really prepared to force gay bakers to decorate Christian wedding cakes with slogans that they find offensive or homophobic? Or to insist that an Orthodox Jewish baker must prepare a cake for a Palestinian wedding featuring a map of the Middle East without Israel? Or to require a black-owned catering company to cook ribs for a KKK group? Instead, radical gays demand the exclusive right to force an artist — and a cake decorator is an artist of sorts — to express himself in ways that they deem correct.
Without free speech, the United States becomes just another two-bit society of sycophants, opportunists, and toadies who warp expression for their own careerist and political agendas. How odd that we of the 21st century lack the vision and courage of our 18th-century Founders, who warned us of exactly what we are now becoming.
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