RICHMOND, Va (WTVR)- Free speech is sacred here, but we forget it’s not like that everywhere.
And we also forget that we’ve gotten plenty worked up ourselves over movies and images that we think mock our deities.
Riots have flared up in Yemen, Egpyt, Tunusia, Morroco, Sudan, Iran and beyond over an absolutely asinine mockudrama about the Prophet Muhammad.
As one angry Muslim involved in the chaos said, you can belittle Al-Qaeda and it’s leaders all you want – mess with Muhammad and this is what you get.
As least five protestors have been killed.
And, of course, four Americans were killed in the attack on our Libyan consulate, which apparently was more of a planned 9/11 anniversary attack than a response to the “Innocence of Muslims” movie.
Hillary Clinton struggled to explain that we can’t censor this kind of thing, no matter how reprehensible. She points out that this kind of expression is on the ragged edge of free speech.
And it is, similar to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater filled with 300 million people tense from generations of turmoil.
Something like this could actually trigger a big-time war.
It doesn’t help that Floridian Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones, contending to be the stupidest man in this hemisphere, promoted this no-budget movie that depicts Muhammed as a sex-crazed buffoon.
It’s sort of a super-stupid combination of “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”
There are those who say this violence just proves what a hair-trigger these religious zealots have, how unforgiving their interpretation of Islam.
Really? What, centuries of bloody religious and tribal wars weren’t enough to clue us in? How about the murderous attack on the Danish cartoonist who dared to suggest Muhammad inspired violence against infidels?
And it’s easy to feel anger that Christianity can be mocked, lampooned, denigrated in art, literature and film, while any slight of Islam is attacked as hateful.
But remember our own protests in 1988 over “The Last Temptation of Christ,” which depicted Christ as lustful and conflicted?
The furor over the publicly funded “Piss Christ” artwork?
And the anger over the depiction of Jews in Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ”?
While we might go out and hold a protest sign or fire off a letter to the editor, these guys are setting fires.
It’s s a whole different world there – one where many so many hate us with a passion we don’t fully understand - even after 9/11.
Yes, free speech is sacred.
But those who made this movie shouldn’t hide in the clouds of the internet.
C’mon, step forward and take credit for it, maybe take a victory lap in the Middle East.
That’s my take. Post yours on WTVR.com.