Theocrats Abound

Ack. Back from giving two presentations at a conference sponsored by SUNSIH –the Student University Network for Social and International Health– at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. I tells ya, young people these days continue to impress me. The average 25 year old young professional is a lot more driven, experienced and informed than I was at that age. Or at least, the average 25 year old who attends such conferences is. Many thanks to the conference organizers and attendees for inviting me and for putting up with my inane chatter.

The most exciting part of the day was the drive to and from Kingston from Ottawa. The rental agency was out of compact cars, so they gave me this honking huge 7-seat SUV! The monster was brand new, with only 30 km on it, too. But I felt like quite the anti-environmentalist fool barrelling down the highway in this behemoth with only one other person filling the 7-seats. Then, I contracted a cold and had to take some medication, making me drowsy for the drive back. So I deflated this effect by breaking a vow I took 3 years ago, one to never drink caffeinated coffee again. So, my friends, I report that in order to avoid falling asleep at the wheel on the 401 highway, I imbibed my first cup of Tim Horton’s coffee in 3 years. Oh, it was sooooo good.

So now it’s 2:AM and I’m still wide awake.

But today what I really want you to see is the following few paragraphs from Charley Reese’s Feb 13th column (emphases are mine):

"That same Danish newspaper, about three years ago, rejected some cartoons ridiculing Jesus on the grounds that they would cause an uproar. The paper has certainly never run anti-Jewish cartoons. Why then did the editors think it was OK to insult Muslims? Apparently, they revealed themselves as just plain anti-Islam bigots.

“Well, there are two sides to the coin of rights we so enjoy in the West. On one side is the right and on the other is the responsibility. To mock and ridicule another’s religion is irresponsible, stupid, vicious and despicable. Whoever owns that newspaper ought to fire both the editor and the cartoonists. They caused an awful lot of trouble just for the sake of a joke on the intellectual level of a drunken frat-house member. It is not a question of freedom of the press; it is a case of the press being irresponsible.

“…Everything we say and do has consequences, and nobody should say or do anything unless he is prepared to accept those consequences without being a crybaby about them.”

Now compare that to the my blog post that resulted in me being called a theocrat. Pretty much the same sentiments as Reese (and, for that matter, as Eric Margolis), who are both prominent politically conservative journalists and defenders of free speech. Why are they not accused of being theocrats? Because, simply, it’s a moronic accusation against a fully reasonable and responsible position which, horror of horrors, is devoid of dogma and hyperbole.