Many student groups participated in “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” without too much trouble. Yes, there was controversy and disagreement, but no real threats. On the other hand, Molly Norris, the cartoonist and creator of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,” hasn’t been so lucky:
But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, “going ghost”: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It’s all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoon.
People, this is why standing up against ridiculous religious beliefs is so important. Molly Norris suggested people draw a cartoon, and she now has to change her whole life so she won’t be murdered.
A religion that reacts in such a way does not deserve respect or politeness. People have every right to believe whatever nonsense they want, but they do not have the right to force those beliefs on others. Muslims should not expect everyone to refrain from drawing Mohammed just because they don’t want to. Hindus should not expect everyone to stop eating beef. Jews should not expect people to stop working on the sabbath. Catholics should not expect people to treat their crackers like they’re the body of Jesus.
Now, I don’t go out looking to start confrontations, so I’m polite to an extent. If my Jewish friend is coming over for dinner, I’ll take their dietary needs into consideration. But the second Jews start threatening and murdering human beings for eating pork, I will not blink an eye before organizing a national Bacon Week.
I’m always asked why atheists need to be so organized if they’re not a religion. Well, this is why. I want to live my life without being policed by religions I don’t believe in. And if I have to choose between potentially offending someone vs. oppression and bodily harm, I’m going to lean toward the option of pissing people off.