In the Arena

Free South Park Prophet Now!

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In memory of Doug Marlette

My old pal Doug was always vehement in defense of the first amendment rights of cartoonists like him–and I vowed to continue his fight after he died, so here goes: This Ross Douthat column today is important. It is possible to respect Islam, be a devout Muslim and be a devout American, too, respecting the free speech rights of others. Free speech shouldn’t include the right to shout fire in a crowded theater (i.e.–last week’s controversy–the right of individuals to mobilize a violent rebellion against the government). But it certainly includes the right to ridicule.

As Douthat says, South Park has satirized just about everything. The episode in question satirizes every other big-time God out there; Mohammed should not be exempt. Because it stands to reason that Allah, the all-merciful, is probably the all-mirthful, too. I believe in a God of Laughter.