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Piss Christ, Anyone?

By       Message Anthony Barnes     Permalink
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Piss Christ , anyone?     

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It wouldn't surprise me to learn that our YouTube generation knows little about the outrage sparked by Andre Serrano's 1987 photographic depiction of Jesus Christ on the crucifix submerged in a bottle of Serrano's own urine.   It provoked a furious response among "devout" Christians who showed little tolerance for the free speech canard used to justify the vulgar depictions of the Prophet Muhammad currently in the news.

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Nope, back then it seemed, nobody, particularly conservatives both religious and otherwise, was having it.   When it came to Piss Christ, they didn't have the "constitution" to stomach any of that First Amendment sh*t.

Today, like then, most of what I get out of the conservative media is breathtakingly infernal, but little of the malevolent crap it spins out on a daily basis infuriates me more than its seething contempt over what it considers the contempt among Muslims for those who slander their Prophet Muhammad under the cover of "free speech."   

It seems that slandering the Prophet Muhammad has become somewhat of an intermittent ritual for much of the Western world over the past few years.   The Innocence of the Muslims is of course, the latest free speech test case, but was joined just days ago by yet another dispatch of anti-Prophet Muhammad "cartoons" emanating from a French "satirical" rag which shall remain unnamed.

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So today it seems that free speech may be the only part of the Constitution that conservatives and the ACLU agree upon -- at least until the next Piss Christ comes along.   So who or what is next in line to wield "free speech" like a flaming wrecking ball in a linen closet?   What prevents the imbeciles who needlessly provoke Muslim outrage from understanding that even free speech -- just like the right to bear arms, for example -- is subject to the same kinds of common sense restraints imposed on most freedoms in a non-existential society?   But beyond that, what is gained through the exercise of free speech for the purpose of religious provocation; of goading adherents into the position of defending their faith, just because free speech grants one the right to do so?

I'm all for free speech.   But it's about context.    To those among us who, in this particular context, would soapbox the free speech issue, I have one serious question:   Would you stand as firmly in the defense of my freedom of speech to call you an a**hole?   Knowing human nature, my guess is probably not.   So really, when used simply as justification to goad and inflame, is the concept of free speech actually enhanced or diminished?

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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