Time and time again, we look in the news and we see evil and bigotry weild its ugly head, while not even having the courage to stand up and admit to it's true identity. Last night as I watched CNN I watched a man speaking to a reporter about how he brought his handgun to a "peaceful" rally and how he wasn't afraid to use his Second Amendment right to defend the First Amendment. Not only does he seem like a coward for using the First Amendment to provoke people of another religion into anger and spread hate, but "Tough Tony" as I'll call him, wouldn't even give his last name to the reporter.
So you're tough enough to bring a gun to holy ground and provoke folks who worship there but you hide under the law and aren't brave enough to truly stand up for your bigoted beliefs by putting your name behind it? If you haven't figured out what I'm referring to right now, I'm referring to the Anti-muslim rally that was held Friday, May 29 at a Phoenix area Mosque that was organized by a Jon Ritzheimer, who insists it wasn't an anti muslim rally despite standing in front of the cameras wearing a "Fuck Islam" shirt. He also expressed that he put his family in hiding because of fears of what could happen to them in lue of two muslim men being gunned down by police in Garland, Texas as they attempted to attack another such rally weeks prior which promoted a draw Muhammad contest.
Let me be the first to say, that although violence should never be the first resort, if you play with a bull, then expect to get the horns. I believe in the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. I also agree with Boyle's law. If you're not familiar with the laws of physics it states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
My common sense also tells me that if I attack another person at their personal and or religious core, that I can expect them to react aggressively and very emotionally. For some, emotion incites violence, and I believe that's exactly what this man and people like him who participated in this rally are doing. To catch you up to speed, all of this centers around a competition. A competition that rewards those participating, for who can best draw a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
It is prohibited in the Islamic religion to draw or create any likeness or simblance of the prophet and is the equivalent of someone using the lord's name in vain or desicrating the crucifix in Christianity. With that being said, and the obvious climate around the globe today amongst religious zealots and political agendas that lie underneath, why would it seem like a great idea to hold such a contest and to promote it? After the first competition was met with such fervor by muslims and folks with some common sense or compassion for their Muslim peers, why hold another competition and up the ante by choosing to hold a rally for it at a Mosque, a place of worship for muslims?
While I do believe in the law and the constitution, I do believe both are flawed and I also believe that this rally is morally wrong and crosses the line of stupidity. Whether it's legal or not, doing something that you know will insult someone and incite violence while not expecting violence as a repercussion is wrong. Furthermore, I find it to be a cowardly act to use the law to spew bigotry and use unjust actions to provoke others into breaking any law.
People who do this, in my opinion are of low moral character and instead of being rewarded for their manipulation with full protection under the law they should have that protection removed for that moment. It's what we like to call a natural consequence. Would we as a nation be so quick to defend the constituinal rights of muslims if they wore I hate Jesus shirts, holding contests desicrating the cross at a Catholic or Baptist church?
Would the country be so quick to condemn the potential threat of violence against muslims if they did so? If I were to bet, I would put my money on no. We were quick to not care about the First Amendment in the early 90's when it came to the governments attempt to ban rap music for it's controversial lyrics. But after main stream America, meaning suburban kids, began to adopt it, all of a sudden it became more acceptable.
And there lies a big piece to the puzzle. We seem to only care about defending constitutional rights or laws when it comes to defending "old fashioned, Christian, American values" or what we view as an American, which is the stereotypical middle class suburbanite. If your values or appearance fall anywhere outside the afforementioned phrase, then that's subject to change abruptly and swiftly.
The hyprocrisy of it all! We see it day to day in what we expect out of people who we deem to be good American Citizens and then expectations and conditions change for folks who are immigrants, not Christian, or not from an ideal economic background. Some of these very same Christians and freedom fighters are quick to take away rights and freedoms and display unchristian like behavior on a regular basis with no one to call them out on it because, "They look like us" or the people they are attacking "Don't look like us".
If that indeed is your mindset, you are also part of the problem and that's why folks such as these Anti-Islam protestors make the constitution nothing but a meaningless piece of paper everytime they act as they do. Being an American and supporting the constitution doesn't mean you have to be a racist but all too often I'm seeing cases where that's the image we are left with. Be a vehicle of change, speak on injustice when you see it, speak on manipulation when you expereince it and open the minds of the ignorant if you can. Be a person of good character before you be anything else.