Leave Me Out of This
By Malcom Lagauce (Jeff Archer)
February 8-9, 2006
The world headlines are increasingly heralding the furor of having the prophet Mohammed's image depicted in illustrations in a Danish newspaper. More papers have reproduced the images, adding fuel to the fire. Embassies are burning and stores have been trashed. It is predicted that the violence will escalate.
I have several minds on this one. Yes, the prophet was denigrated. Many of the illustrations portrayed him in a negative manner. And yes, if the same portrayal of Jesus or Moses was put in print, there would be an uproar.
Now, Iran is sponsoring a contest for artists to come up with depictions of Jews. When these publications hit the street, Jews will be infuriated.
I am sure that someone will do the same with Jesus. And, the religious wars will be in full swing.
I will not run any of the depictions of the prophet in my column, but if you want to see a historical look at some go to the Mohammed Image Archive. There are plenty: some historical and worthy of being called art, and some that are outright vile. One, for instance, is titled "Why do Muslims Bend to Pray?" The illustration shows Mohammed bent over in prayer and a dog is performing anal intercourse with him.
Once the retaliation begins, there will be no boundaries. Currently, in the U.S. little has been said about the incident because many Americans are anti-Muslim and find such depictions quite hilarious. I want to see the looks on their faces if someone has Jesus being humped by a dog. However, in the U.S., despite the famous "freedom of speech" tag assessed to the culture, I doubt anyone would print such an illustration.
I am startled that the three major world monotheistic religions have come down to battling each other over vile cartoons. Each has a rich tradition of texts instructing people how to live virtuous lives. That all seems to be forgotten amidst a fury of who can depict whom in the most vile manner. It is preposterous.
A few columns ago, I mentioned the plight of atheists in the U.S. and how we are considered third-class citizens. Check out the illustration with this article. In just a few minutes on Google, I ran across articles calling atheists liars, immoral, stupid, mentally deficient, etc. Many had vile cartoons affixed. Even a former president, Bush I, said atheists should not be considered citizens of the U.S. One Christian website said that atheists lash out at kids and prompted its readers to report atheists living in the neighborhood to church authorities. Our negative image is just as vile as the Danish cartoonist's depictions of Mohammed.
But, there is absolutely no way I would even think an atheist would stoop to denigrating religion by showing a religious icon being fucked by a canine. No way. We are discriminated against at all levels of our society in the U.S. and we attribute the negative allegations to fools trying to get a message across. These fools will someday make way for a more knowledgeable public. If not, atheists will be hanging from trees, yet we will never give up our integrity.
In the next few weeks, we will see more violence and more counterattacks by one religion over another. I am confused because I consider a great thought process (something all religions pride themselves on) to be the ultimate weapon. Turning religious philosophies into a pissing contest dominated by pornographic depictions of believers of certain religions is mind-boggling. No one has to get involved with such a childish and violent practice if he/she is assured his/her religion is right. Sometimes, it makes me think that religionists may not be as assured of their faith as they maintain.
I have no problem with my non-belief. I will not publish or glorify any mindless illustrations that denigrate religion. I don't have to because I am comfortable with my own philosophies.
Sure, I have criticized religion occasionally in my columns. But, only the aspects that contradict history or science. Never have I denigrated religion for denigration's sake.
Let the games begin. Lagauche will be an observer, not a participant.