Provocation: “Piss Christ & Pam Geller

Should you provoke someone just because you can?
It’s an interesting question. One that—depending on the answer—leads one down a path of numerous outcomes.
If it is done to achieve social change—abolition for example—then hardly a rational soul can argue with it. But what about insulting someone’s faith? Does the relationship to God in the matter—change the mentality? What about a faith that practices hugely unjust, unfair, and uncivil consequences to those who disobey? What about the injustice that faith brings to humanity in the execution of those who leave it? Add to that complexity the matter of elements of a particular faith being the primary connection to the existence of terrorism and it’s global impact.
Don’t misunderstand; I would fight to the death to defend Pamela Geller’s right to hold her “draw Mohammed” contest. This is a civil right, given by God, and affirmed in the Constitution of the United States. The principle is clear! Free speech is guaranteed for the most provocative amongst us. It may be highly insensitive. It may be grossly uncomfortable. But the guarantee of the freedom of speech is one of the core components of our nation that make us distinctly American.
This principle was long fought for. Much American blood has been shed over the years expressly concerned with protecting American ideals. Free speech has actually been grossly under attack by the courts. To truly express one’s passions—especially as they relate to the American public—is a light that must never be put out.
But is the principle of expressing one’s self, no matter the cost, always indicative that it is the correct thing to do?
I would argue, “no!”
“Why,” you might ask. And it’s simple… it’s people.
The idea that people have the ability and the freedom to be civil to one another is a virtue that isn’t much in fashion these days. Those that study such things would even argue it is a significant reason for our downfall in areas ranging from business to foreign affairs.
If people never matter, then speech can be as brash and as unchecked as desired. If people do not matter than insults can and will fly without filter, without thought.
So I guess the question for each person when considering the balance of their right to free speech and also coupled to the idea that treating people with dignity matters is, “What do you want to accomplish?”

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