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September 12, 2012


Nonsense. Romney may have been misinformed about the timing of the Cairo Embassy's statement, but he was right that it was craven and idiotic. The Administration apparently agreed because it eventually disavowed the Embassy's statement. The notion that the Administration should be exempt from criticism for the statement because there are some who falsely believe that Obama is Muslim is preposterous. And not for nothing, is it Administration policy that embassies are empowered to make these kind of statements without clearing them through Washington? Criminy!

With more time to think, Hillary Clinton and the President made comments today. Both were inadequate IMHO.

Mrs. Clinton: "Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior [in Benghazi], along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear--there is no justification for this, none. Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith."

Obama: "Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts."

IMHO they should have been defending freedom of speech for Americans, including my freedom to denigrate some religion if I so choose. To merely say that the attacks are unjustified is weak, as is shown by the following analogy:

Suppose, a group of Christians with heavy weapons had attacked the museum where Piss Christ was exhibited and killed four staff members including the museum director. Either Obama's or Hillary's statement would have been unthinkably feeble. IMHO Islamic beliefs shouldn't be given greater respect than Christian beliefs.

BTW Mr. Obama was incorrect when he said: "We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." The US does not reject all efforts to denigrate Christianity. On the contrary, the US supports some of them, including Piss Christ, which received some government funding.

Law Professor Eugene Volokh comments on the double standard regarding the criticism of varous religious beliefs.

And same for all of you who mock young earthers, or devout Scientologists, or believers in miracles — and all who say that, for instance, racist or sexist religious beliefs are contemptible — and maybe even all those who, even politely, contend that rival religions’ views are wrong and will deny salvation to the holders of those views:

"The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others."

So says the Secretary of State...

Interesting debate comparing anti-Christian art vs. anti-Islam art. William Saletan argues in Slate that Romney’s condemnation of U.S. diplomats over the Mohammed movie is a betrayal of free speech.

Ace of Spades refutes Saletan, arguing that anti-Islam art is particularly praiseworthy, because Islam is a bad religion: It justifies murder in the name of "god." It turns women into de facto slaves. It rejects and "unobjectionable (or so we thought) universal values of human dignity." It inststs on championing believers in a faith with a superior legal status over nonbelievers (also known as "polytheists," "blasphemers," "apostates," "dhimmis," or, worst of all, "Jews").

Both articles are well worth reading in their entirety.

Reinforcing Rob's point, this is a substantive debate. It has nothing to do with the myth that Obama is a Muslim.

One can be for freedom of speech and still oppose religious bigotry.

It's craven to attack President Obama as "sympathizing" with Muslim extremists for deploring "The Innocence of Muslims," a Molotov-cocktail of a movie. Governor Romney is tacitly calling Obama a secret Muslim.

It's almost as bad as Fox News' "terrorist fist-jab" comment back in 2008.

It reveals naked desperation. Romney is losing the race. After this campaign is all over and he goes back to Zurich to dive into his vault of Kruggerands, he'll have to figure out if he really gave the race for the presidency his best shot.

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