I am curious to see what happens when President Obama invites Molly Norris to the White House for a beer. Oh, Wait…Molly Norris can’t go to the White House for beer because Molly Norris no longer exists; any trace of her has been wiped clean.
Norris, a Seattle cartoonist, was the unfortunate, creative mind who conceived of “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” Ironically, her satirical comment on the demise of free speech in America led to protests and death threats from fundamentalists Muslims, who apparently take cartooning very seriously. Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who became an al-Qaida leader, then issued a fatwa. According to this man of God, the mere suggestion that people should draw Muhammad was cause for assassination. The FBI then suggested that Norris “go ghost,” which is to say, move from her home, change her name, stop drawing her cartoon—essentially wipe away any trace of her existence. Molly Norris is dead! So too, apparently is the American notion of freedom of speech as well as any vestige of American back-bone. Since when can those living in other parts of the world threaten American citizens with impunity?
It’s too bad that Norris didn’t pick-on Christians. Imagine if, instead of encouraging her fellow cartoonists to draw Muhammad, Norris had implored them to draw Jesus Christ. Sure, she would have been the subject of a few fiery Sunday sermons, received some nasty letters, and even been the object of some loud protests, but she would still have her life. In fact, there are even those Christians that would have prayed for her, rejoicing that drawing Christ might be the first step in coming to Christ.
Moreover, she may have even become a star in the artistic community, celebrated as a “provocative, post modernist, commentator on contemporary religious life.” But, alas, she chose to throw a punch at Islam and practitioners of the “religion of peace” threatened to kill her.
And the guardians of free speech—those same good folks that expressed such indignation at protesters of the Ground Zero mosque, that would have hailed her as a hero had she pointed her pencil at born-again Christians—have simply shrugged their shoulders and whispered, “what a shame. I knew Molly when.”
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