How Should we Approach the Mohammed Cartoons Controversy by Olivier Melnick

Freedom of speech being what it is, still does not grant us the right to say anything we want, anytime we want to anybody we want. Freedom of speech guarantees that we won’t be harassed, arrested, imprisoned or killed for speaking our mind but it doesn’t and shouldn’t give us carte blanche to say anything we want.

complete article here:

How Should we Approach the Mohammed Cartoons Controversy?

I addressed the same kind of issue previously with this photo.


45 thoughts on “How Should we Approach the Mohammed Cartoons Controversy by Olivier Melnick

  1. I understand that the concept of absolute free speech is difficult to grasp unless one was born in the US.

    Truly it would have been unheard of in the 1700’s for a colony of the crown to tell the king to pound salt over tea taxes but that is exactly what happened.

    I may not agree with Gellar’s methods of free speech but I have to support it or deny my own.

    My “limits” of free speech are thus:

    I believe in absolute free speech as long as the speech is absolute truth.

    We need to remember that the Pharisees would have LOVED to curtail the free speech of Jesus all throughout His ministry.

  2. But to show how lack of free speech is harmful:

    I understand that your Prime Minister has required all Aussies to get vaccines that are current or they would be denied federal benefits. The only exemptions are the Prime Ministers daughters…

    Now in California USA there is a law being proposed that doctors could be charged with felony assault and jailed up to 15 years for sticking needles in their children without parental consent.

    I tend to agree with the California law personally…

    And had I lived in the 1700’s I would have said the king could keep his tea as well….

  3. And if I lived in Aus right now I would be launching the biggest Boycott against Indonesia the world has ever seen for the cowards executing Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran!

    Being American and witnessing it has me so disgusted I will never buy ANYTHING Indonesian if I notice the label for the rest of my life!

    And NEVER will Indonesia get one cent of online business or one tourist cent from me or ANYONE in my family!

  4. “I understand that the concept of absolute free speech is difficult to grasp unless one was born in the US.”

    I suppose the issue comes down to whether US culture overrules God’s standards.
    God makes us accountable for every word.

    It seems also that others establish THEIR own standards and make people accountable to THOSE standards – as seen in the Charlie Hebdo killings.

    We have to decide whether the freedom of expression equates to the freedom to wilfully and gratuitously offend.

  5. 1) The PMs daughter would not be exempt.
    2) Why should someone obtain taxpayer provided funds via Federal benefits if they choose to put their community at risk.

    15 years charged with “felony assault”? Why not just have police shoot them in the street, which seems to be an all too common occurrence.

  6. Being American and witnessing that has you so disgusted?
    What US states have you boycotted because of their use of the death penalty?
    For example, do you similarly judge and boycott Texas?

  7. There is a time and place to “willfully and gratuitously offend” within the bounds of free speech… absolutely. AND with the blessing of God the Father.

    Luke 11:45 Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.”

    Read the context, its pretty brutal.

    Regarding point 2 above. Seeing you’ve bought the “party line” concerning vaccines, we needn’t go any further.

    Vaccine science is junk science just as evolution is.

    Ones, they are your countrymen. Don’t boycott Indonesia if you don’t feel like it.

    And God will judge ALL the unjust executions that the filthy whore I live in has committed. You’ll see it.

  8. In fact, you’re already seeing it if you’re paying attention.

    Just remember, every right you give up and every government intrusion you accept NOW without saying a word brings one closer to the possibility of accepting the mark of the beast in the future.

    After all, it will be government mandated.

  9. FYI, I’m not aware that the US has EVER executed a SINGLE drug trafficker in its entire history unlike brutal Indonesia.

    They only execute for serious offenses such as murder.

  10. It’s very easy to find extremist blog comment to support extremist argument.
    The current issue of vaccination is about diseases that are very contagious that have the capability of being spread and killing countless people, especially young children. Dangerous childhood diseases that had seemed to be a thing of the past due to vaccination have re-emerged as a present day danger because vaccination rates fell thanks to a campaign of ill-founded conspiracy claims.

    The article in your link regarding Tony Abbot’s daughters refers to vaccination to reduce the likelihood of suffering from a particular type of cancer – something that is NOT highly contagious, is not related to the issue at hand and is therefore a dishonest comparison for that blogger to make.

  11. Ones, stop being a parrot for the corrupt governments and institutions of this world in hopes that it will save your skin for a season or for whatever reason you do it.

    It doesn’t impress God or anyone who may read your blog. And it will likely end you up in the lake of fire for the eventual betrayal of true believers should you stay your antichrist course of denying reality.

    In the book of Acts there were two groups of people. The “all knowing authorities” that thought they knew what was best for society and mankind at large.


    There was another group that said, “We must obey God rather than man!”

    If you expect to make it to heaven you best get over the stigma of being thought of as an outlaw because that is what true Christians will be in due time. Even in western countries.

  12. Quick question Ones and I’ll leave you to your delusions if you wish to stay.

    If one doesn’t love and practice lies but defends those who do are they any less guilty in the eyes of God for these lies?

  13. I haven’t read all the posts yet, but I have this to say: That woman will be absolutely held to account for what she does and says and promotes. There’s more wrong with her than this latest stunt. She’s an Ayn Rand fan, for one. But she can say what she wants (here, even if it isn’t true — because* the alternative is someone deciding what’s true for us). What is right or appropriate or helpful to say is different from what is legal (rightly so, in my opinion). Now, here’s where I draw the line legally. And this incident is on the edge. The proverbial “fire” in a crowded theater is, as someone said today and I appreciated, not exactly free speech: it’s more like pulling an alarm [or calling 911 as a prank (more of an illegal act of disturbance than free speech)]. Geller put many people in danger by her delight in this plea for attention. There were attendees/participants coming out of the event when the gunmen showed up; the guards/officers** (hired specially as advised by official police) had to tell these people to head back in.

    Thank God none of the officers died or were terribly wounded (one was seriously enough, though). Yet, I think it was stupid for the privately hired cops to pose with Geert Wilder (if I’m remembering his name correctly). He’s a liar too and a terribly polarizing figure.

    * Again, there’s an exception. You can be sued for slander and libel and defamation, etc. of a non-public figure. It IS problematic that public figures don’t have this so much at hand (while do have it to some extent). But the idea is the public can hash it out and be fair (in thought or evaluation) if they care.

    ** This is another concern. You’ll have individuals in this lot (in general across the country and world) who get fired or let go from official capacity or unofficially recognized for improper but desired behavior.

  14. Marleen,
    the issue at hand is not about legalities or whether “freedom of speech” should be allowed within a secular society. The article in the link, and my comments on this same subject are related to accountability.
    “Freedom of speech” comes with consequences. Most importantly everyone is accountable to God for their every word.
    There are also consequences in the here and now. If we poke a snake with a stick we are likely to be bitten – or worse, we would be responsible for someone else being bitten.

    The issue for Christians is OUR response to “freedom of speech”. Do we use it to purposely offend others? Do we support others when they abuse their “freedom of speech ” to intentionally cause offence? And most importantly does God promote “freedom of speech”?

    I initially raised this topic when addressing the “Je Suis Charlie” trend that arose after the Charlie Hebdo killings. Understandably the first response to those killings was outrage and the staff of that paper were seen as innocent victims, even though they had continued to provoke and poke at a snake they knew was dangerous and threatening to bite them and others.

    That raises the question of whether it is wiser to remain silent rather than risk personal harm when there is a legitimate point to be made. My answer to that is NO! But again I’d say that hasn’t really been the issue at hand with the Charlie Hebdo case or the recent Mohammed cartoon exhibition. Rather than using freedom of speech to express a necessary truth, both cases involved intentional provocation, enacted because they were legally able to provoke.
    Basically both cases involved people saying I’m going to offend you because the law allows us to be offensive.

    In other comments the Unprofitable one has referred to cases where Jesus offended people like the religious authorities. And yes many WERE offended by things He said. But was it Jesus’ intention to be offensive? Or was He merely speaking truth that caused offense because they knew their lives fell short of it?

  15. I’m not defending anyone who loves and practices lies.
    I’m saying we shouldn’t stand alongside those who wilfully provoke hatred and violence merely because they have a secular freedom to do so.

  16. You tell me to “stop being a parrot for the corrupt governments and institutions of this world”???

    I’m not the one supporting the secular rights instituted by governments of this world and raising them above God’s standards.

  17. I thought I talked about accountability as well as consequences in the here and now and ethics — in addition to rights and freedoms or the restrictions on these understandings. I guess I didn’t… no, I think I actually did. Plus, I characterized that woman, Geller, as seeking attention (a “plea” for her own infamy) and probably via means more like calling the police or almost even ambushing them (and endangering others in the melee). She lured people with a big payout to specifically do one thing. It was a stunt.

    As for Jesus, I’d say he’s pretty well in line with the prophets who said things like “you’re momma” (I’m only slightly exagerating if at all). I think it was Ezekiel who said the likes of “you’re daddy is an Amorite, your moms, Hitite” (speaking in a comparative sense to people whose dad and mom weren’t these because it was, rather, Esau, vs. Jacob, who married Hittites).

    No, we shouldn’t just say mean things to say mean things. That was demonstrated by a guy on “Survivor” this season who claimed to be a Christian (and he never did see what he did wrong). Further, there are things our American founding fathers should not have done (that they did do).

    I agree with the author of the article that the guy who quit drawing Mohammed shouldn’t have announced he was bored with doing so, thus quitting doing so (although of course it’s his choice whether to say this, but it wasn’t helpful in my opinion). I wonder if someone asked him to come up with a reason to say he was quitting — like so the government would feel more at ease, missing the overall principle. Or a friend.

    I also agree Pammy and Geerty shouldn’t do what they do. Pretty much across the board. I mean the things they do to make a living (and a “name” for themselves) through sensationalism.

    Still, the quote about having a right or freedom not meaning having a right… I would say… that wording… invites talk about rights and restrictions in legality [and maybe within a family or amongst very close friends breaching basic, obvious trust and decency]. Maybe it’s a linguistics thing. We tend to think of having a right as different, often regretably, from doing right or what is right in an individual case.

    A way to look at this in our wording the way you’d like to see it, though, is that our government or Constitution doesn’t “grant” us our rights but recognizes and protects them. Really, however, we can’t take this to its logical conclusion because we can’t quite establish or “recognize” everything “right” — or a religion.

  18. Hmmm. If you go to the very end of the article about the cartoonist quitting with the Mohammed subject, linked on to from the article up top, the guy (Luz) says the former editor is no longer “Charlie” — which I think sure puts a chill on the whole “I am Charlie” exuberance.

  19. Ones,

    First of all I already said I don’t agree with Pam Gellar’s methods but I can’t decry them or I must do the same with my right to free speech as well.

    You said “In other comments the Unprofitable one has referred to cases where Jesus offended people like the religious authorities. And yes many WERE offended by things He said. But was it Jesus’ intention to be offensive? Or was He merely speaking truth that caused offense because they knew their lives fell short of it?”

    The Word mentions that Christ “knew their thoughts” many times and I’m sure this wasn’t an exception when He said things that offended those who would eventually kill Him and many of His followers in the book of Acts.

    They deserved to be rebuked extremely harshly and that is exactly what they got.


    I agree that Pam Gellar will be held to account for what she says but won’t we all?

    The bottom line there is their “prophet” was a false prophet who murdered people who didn’t agree with him or offended him which his followers carry on. Followers of such nonsense should be rebuked and nobody on the face of this earth should cow tow to their demands that they not be offended.

    Like I said, I don’t agree with what she does or says but I am not going to demand her free speech is infringed.

    The latest news is that Pam Gellar has had a “hit” put out on her by them.


    Comedian’s ‘Insensitive’ Comments About Dead Dallas Jihadists Hailed As “Best Tweet In The History of Twitter”

    Bottom line is that NOBODY in western society has the obligation to be unoffensive to these savages but our leaders have an obligation to stop them from coming in if they can’t behave.

    As Christians we should preach the gospel to them in love and never be afraid.

  20. Unprofitable one, you said: “I can’t decry them or I must do the same with my right to free speech as well.”

    If you are a Christian you have no right to free speech.
    Your country may give you that freedom but God doesn’t. He has set a higher standard than the standard set by secular Governments. God has made HIS requirements clear regarding the speech of those who claim to follow Him.

    While God may have given all of us the freedom to choose what to say, that is no different to Him giving us the freedom to sin should we choose to do so. We are accountable for both our speech and our sin.

  21. Also, the response from the law enforcement to these violators of the law of the land in America was straight out of Romans 13

    Romans 13:4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

    So if they don’t like free speech then the solution for them is to stay in countries with oppressive laws and stay out of countries which don’t.

    But as you can clearly see, they won’t yet do in America what they did in other western countries which went off the antichrist cliff of political correctness long ago.

  22. Ones, as Christians we are also called to be subject to the governing authorities of the land we happen to live in during our sojourn here. Up to the point that they attempt to make us violate a command of Christ…. Then it’s “We must obey God rather than man”

    Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

    In America the supreme law of the land happens to be the Constitution which allows for free speech. The founders called the Constitution “chains” on those who would attempt to unjustly tax our tea ever again among other things.

    And besides that. How many times was Jesus derided for the things he said to unjust religious and political authorities?

    And the scene we see in Acts is the disciples CONSTANTLY being forbade to “speak in His Name” and punished when they refused.

    But they exercised their right to free speech given to them by God.

    Like I said, get used to the idea of the book of Acts becoming OUR life at some point and being chased and hunted like dogs. And get used to the idea that you are either going to disobey them or God. One or the other.

  23. Onesimus,

    I don’t agree that free speech is like sin. We aren’t given a script each day to adhere to and otherwise be considered rebels. Seems like the next step is to claim every word out of our mouths is the word of God like some politicians claim God told them to run for office, so maybe we’re to gather that calls for our vote. Even without these other steps, I simply don’t agree with this path you’re on about speech. Somehow being a true believer means not to offend people? I dumbed down what a prophet said long ago, but if you look over what Jesus said (also long ago but not as long) I think you have to notice he didn’t have a rule not to offend. No, he didn’t just show them a standard they didn’t measure up to; he said offensive things. Would you like to be called a son of Satan or a viper or someone who leads people off a cliff or a grave that looks alright?


    … but won’t we all?

    Yes, we will.

  24. I guess Pam can now leave everyone else out of her mess and rest in the knowledge she might end up a martyr (a martyr for what I’m not really sure). Jesus didn’t demand people protect him.

  25. Yes we are accountable to God for what we say but as you said, we have the freedom to choose what to say.

    Also, as Christians, we have Biblical instructions to not be busybodies or to lord over people in or out of church.

    The Word states that “God judges those who are outside” so if America has laws which allow for unbridled extreme free speech, then as Christians we are not called to overthrow the law of the land.

    The early Dispensationalists in America are the ones who inspired Christians to be busybodies by teaming up with “Ceasar” on things like Sufferage, Alcohol Prohibition and Drug Prohibition. Things that caused untold misery to believer and unbeliever alike which we had NO business being involved in.

    God judges those who are outside PERIOD.

    And ultimately, America is responsible for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran’s deaths because they are the ones who pushed harsh drug penalties through the UN to the rest of the world.

    I may not choose to use my mouth in ways that Pam Gellar does but I’m under no Biblical edict to tell her what to say or not say.

    I can tell her the consequences of what she says but that’s as far as I’m called to go.

  26. I just now saw the 5:15 PM. Unprofitable,
    How are you defending Pamela as “obeying God”?

    What she does is not right and includes lies.

    And the concept of defending her free speech methods in order
    to protect yours involves saving your own “skin” via what you call corrupt governments.

  27. Latest news about this incident and beyond:


    NYPD assessing ISIS threat to controversial blogger Pamela Geller

    Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders plans Prophet Mohammed expo after US shootings

  28. Marleen, I didn’t say that “free speech is like sin”. The freedom God has given us related to speech is the same freedom He has given regarding our behaviour. He no more stops us from speaking evil than He stops us from doing evil.
    It is up to us to live and speak in a Godly manner. If we choose not to do so we will be made accountable for our choices. As followers of Jesus we have no carte blanche freedom to say whatever we want in whatever manner we want and avoid accountability.

    Our speech and actions have consequences. Our every word will be judged by God. And yet even before that judgement our speech can have consequences in the here and now.

    Jesus did not set out to offend – He said things that people found offensive because of the state of their own lives. He was expressing Truth that they found unpalatable. That is a far different situation to those at the heart of the article above and the other things I’ve posted on this matter.
    With Charlie Hebdo, they set out to intentionally offend. As a result they met some horrendous consequences – as will those who perpetrated their murder. I thought afterwards of the irony facing those Moslem gunmen – while expecting their deaths would grant them instant entry to paradise to be met by their 72 virgins, their reality would be to spend an eternity of torment along with those they hated enough to murder.

  29. “as Christians we are not called to overthrow the law of the land”

    I’m not calling for any law of the land to be overthrown.

    Surely the content of what I’ve posted is addressed mostly to believers to say the “law of the land” isn’t supposed to be THEIR standard – God’s WORD should be. Therefore I will not align myself with the behaviour of those who purposely offend for offensiveness sake – all in the name of that idol “free speech”.

    Even the words of non-believers are held to accountability by a higher power than that secular power that granted them “freedom of speech”.

  30. from one of the links posted by Unprofitable:

    “… this is a terrorist threat. And the FBI, President Obama should provide security. There’s no question about it. Because he created an environment that raised the stakes on this,” Geller said.

    Interesting – so now its Obama’s fault that Geller is in danger, not her own fault for abusing her “freedom of speech”. Clearly speech isn’t so free when the government is expected to provide security to the one whose primary intention was to offend people who have proven to retaliate with violence in the past.

  31. Oh, come on! While, like I said, she wants attention, from Hannity, from the FOX morning people and whoever else will follow and promote her and especially pay her (including sending donations), if the federal agencies mentioned contacted her, Hannity would be instigating an outrage over THAT instead.

    The FBI, and on and on, are supposed to give special fawning rights to everyone who exercises free speech? I have free speech too. Where’s my phone call? Actually, I don’t want one. And I don’t want resources diverted to make me happy (or placated if that’s possible with her) and self important.

  32. Hi Marleen,

    That had nothing to do with Pam.

    The point I was trying to make in the 5:15 post is that eventually, even in western “Christian” nations, being a good, obedient citizen isn’t going to cut it.

    They are going to demand retraction of our faith, acceptance of the mark and worship of the beast and his image or step to the guillotine line….

    Either we accept that we are going to be hated by ALL nations for Christ’s Name sake or we can give into the demands of the unjust rulers of this world for the last time with no turning back ever.

    We need to embrace the fact we are going to be outlaws by definition, not shrink back from it. And get used to the idea NOW before it happens.

    And every time we give into unjust demands from unjust governments and groups NOW, the less likely we will refuse the BIG lie that is coming.

    Walking with Christ means loving righteousness and rejecting unrighteousness wherever it comes from and no matter the cost.

  33. Personally I think Pam is an agent provocateur along the lines of Barabbas…

    And who do you suppose they will deliver to be beheaded at some point in the future, Pam or a believer?

    New articles concerning this incident:

    Why Won’t Pamela Geller Shut Up?

    Exclusive: Why a company chairman supported a Prophet Mohammad cartoon event–sector.html

  34. from the link in Marleen’s comment. “…not entirely surprised, that Sean Hannity would offer a national platform to two well-known haters. Ms. Geller and Mr. Choudary represent nothing more than an extreme political fringe.”

    Not exactly the way to have a sensible and productive debate is it? But Fox isn’t the place any one would go for intelligent commentary, and this is a good example of why that’s the case.

  35. For those who can’t see it, he responds to a few cartoonish (but live human) characters who pop up about excuses or question they might have as to whether it’s okay to shoot someone over cartoons. He repeatedly says NO. I had a hard time with the characters at first, like how they made sense. But I think it’s because the piece plays on the charicature that has been put forth of left wingers (a caricature in and of themselves from fringe perspectives even outside this subject matter). So, here you have leisure-time liberals in the imagination of Pam Geller types coming out of the woodwork to defend violence.

    Then there’s a second half as we think of the government we want to protect the free speech or, more specifically, the lives of Americans. But Texans right now are freaking out about the government being the enemy. They don’t want our armed forces to have training exercises. And that’s not new. Extreme righty Christians were coming up with conspiracy theories early in George Bush’s tenure too. [And seriously, this has been going on among fear pushers, whether Christian or not, since early last century and ramped up during the fifties and onward. I was raised in some of this but have grasped the need to see through it.]

  36. I’ve realized I should be a little more clear about the second half. That half doesn’t involve caricatures and a skit. It shows actual news reel coverage (clips of recorded citizens, including at town meetings, not just talking heads on shows, shows like Hannity’s that do stoke). [Also, I didn’t grow up suspicious of the military; we were in very much respect of the military (that is until your daughter is dating someone planning to make a career in the military, then the money isn’t good enough and it’s time to start meddling and manipulating). Yet I could see where the heads of paranoia in the indoctrinating body my mother had me attending (such as for summer camp) would go. (Not to say we shouldn’t be watchful. We have checks and balances and so on.)]

  37. Some old friends came to visit, very recently. Whew, that was surreal. While they’ve gotten more radical or reactionary or weird (but it was interesting talking and it was good to see them), I’ve gotten more moderate — and live less in a realm of theories (like libertarianism-slash-strict-conservatism-whatever-that-can-possibly-be). One thing the husband brought up, as they live in Texas, is that the shooters at the cartoon contest didn’t respect our first amendment and ran into the second. He said this flippantly, like the way he said he likes a guy who talks about what’s wrong with Islam who likes to joke around. So, an example of this fun is he says he likes to read the Koran while eating bacon. Both of these lines were repeated maybe a week later, when an atheist was on the news explaining why there was going to be a protest outside a mosque on a day of their normal services, a protest to which the promoters were encouraging protesters bring guns. These people were wearing and selling t-shirts reading F____ Islam. AND the event was explicitly billed as a follow-up to the other one.

  38. Such things have little to do with freedom of speech and a lot to do with the freedom to be offensive. The two are not related. The latter eventually nullifies the former. Deliberately stirring up trouble in that way effectively makes it harder for the expression of constructive ideas.

  39. This husband was also promoting the idea of having a person to which one would confess sin, someone who would know “everything” about you (something he says he got from Rick Warren’s book, although he is against Rick’s turn toward “Chrislam” since then — which he told me after he asked if there is anything about Rick Warren that would make me not want to listen to him and I told him his book didn’t offer anything I thought moved me forward). Of course, having a person to confess to is a variation on Catholicism. It’s easy to “game” such a thing. It’s also easy to pick a person who sees things your way generally, so you’d miss stuff about yourself, not seeing it as sin. Meanwhile, you tell what you want to tell… you can see where this might go. The person confessing can be lying (about himself or others). The person “confessing” doesn’t have to feel accountable to anyone but his confessing buddy or mentor (could go either way) if even that. The buddy or mentor, whether in general worldview agreement or not, could as well lead [or go with] the confessor astray as be of any benefit.

    I think that if you want to be a moral person, you get to decide to be one; do you value that, or not? I see people as accountable to other people with whom they interact. If you do someone wrong, you confess to each such person to whom you did wrong that you did wrong (specifically what you did wrong) and fix it if you can in the sense of undoing it (replacing or giving back something broken or stolen, admitting the truth if you lied or put someone down, etc.). And you especially live genuinely and honestly with your family (that is in a healthy situation, not setting yourself up for harm with an abusive husband), so they can trust you and so everyone can learn from this approach as well as from each mistake each person makes. On top of that, you confess to your Creator/Redeemer and ask for the searching of your heart and inspiring of wisdom and love. These real-time, real-life measures help you see you are accountable. They are better than gimmicks and are not evasive (unless one’s approach to everyone is to “game” the system, a real possibility to some people).

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