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The Tolerance Canard

The Tolerance Canard

By David Harsanyi - October 26, 2010

No question. We're surrendering to religious intolerance. Just not the imaginary religious intolerance many would have us believe.

After 9/11, we stressed the distinction between Muslims and extremist Muslims who were driven by an ideological strain of orthodoxy that prioritizes atomizing the infidel. But we all conceded that those terrorists were Muslims, nonetheless. It's a fact.

Today, even broaching the topic of religious affiliation can send (almost all) the dolts on "The View" scattering for cover. To some folks, any whiff of critical discussion on the religious angle is tantamount to narrow-mindedness. And now, apparently, religious bigotry includes the dissemination of truth.

Surely by now you've heard the tale of liberal commentator Juan Williams, fired by National Public Radio after conceding to Bill O'Reilly that Muslims dressed in traditional garb on a airplane make him kind of "nervous" and "worried."

"Now, I remember also that when the Times Square bomber was at court, I think this was just last week," as Williams went on to assert during a broader conversation about more tolerance. "He said the war with Muslims, America's war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don't think there's any way to get away from these facts."

Of course there is. Ask some of the "tolerance"-pimping left-wing groups like Think Progress for their instruction manual. Just throw around the word bigotry. Chill conversation. Watch NPR capitulate and then watch journalists who value their careers become increasingly uneasy about covering or discussing Islamic radicalism, peaceful Islam - any Islam.

This isn't exactly new. There are many books - a genre actually - that expound on the profound stupidity of religion and its followers. Though I enjoy some of these works, I can't help but marvel at how the most severe accusations are reserved for modern Catholicism or Evangelicalism while, if we're lucky, some tepid criticism will gently fall on the faith featuring the most fundamentalism in the world.

I get it. We pride ourselves as being an open society. And we can stay that way by greeting fundamentalism with modernity not allowing radicalism to influence our enlightenment.

Or so you'd think.

If you can ever find the Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris ask her about religious tolerance. Norris has reportedly gone "ghost" after finding herself on an Islamic terror hit list for her insulting cartoon. (Let me know when a journalist makes an atheist, Mormon or papal hit list.)

Free speech didn't exactly work out that well for Molly. There was only a faint outcry about her predicament. The tolerance crowd was busy smearing anyone who didn't like idea of a mosque near ground zero a bigot.

That's OK, most cartoonists understand that nearly every topic is open to them. Nearly.

And since most of us still enjoy nearly unlimited free expression, perhaps NPR will explain its reverence to open dialogue at some point during the next 600 hours of shilling for charity.

Perhaps NPR can even take a few moments to explain to American Muslims why they're thought of as children who can't handle the slightest perceived politically incorrect comment.

And maybe they can carve out a few minutes for groups that instigated and rationalize shutting down journalists. Perhaps they can explain how they perceive themselves "liberal." It seems to be a misnomer for the ages.

 

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

Copyright 2010 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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