Today, President Barack Obama delivered four pretty good paragraphs to the United Nations about the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and the underlying principles of free speech and tolerance-of-minority-viewpoints it reflects. In the as-prepared transcript of the speech, the good material in question can be found starting with the sentence "I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video," and concluding with the accurate kicker, "There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan."
I would be inclined to quote more, if it weren't for the Obama administration's own sorry record of video apologetics and premature blamethese past two weeks, and for the fact that the president's welcome-if-overdue remarks today were bracketed by some assertions that can best be described as heinous. First, the noxious preamble:
In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.
That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well – for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and religion. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion – we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.
Then, the worse postscript:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims.
And speaking of that favorite State Department word, rejected--isn't that a word to describe what you do to something that gets in your face, or body? In medicine, the body "rejects" organs or other dissonant substances that have been introduced within it. In basketball, not every blocked shot is a "rejection," mostly those that come when the offensive player is driving aggressively toward the vicinity of the hoop. Innocence of Muslimsdidn't get all up in someone's grill, it lay forlorn and neglected on YouTube until some people (pro and con) decided to get excited by it. Even then, it is a remarkably easy piece of culture to avoid coming into contact with. "Rejected" implies a cultural potency that "Sam Becile" (or as I prefer, "C'est imbecile") could never dream of.
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
well, I guess he is standing with the Muslims!