Human Events Blog

Obama at the UN: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”

Barack Obama’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly began with a fine tribute to slain Ambassador Chris Stevens, which is worth reading in full.  The New York Times has a transcript.

But then the President segued into the circumstances surrounding Stevens’ murder, and things grew… problematic.  Obama is still deeply invested in the mythology of a liberating “Arab Spring” spreading from a self-immolating Tunisian street vendor, leading to a captivating transformation by “the forces of change.”  He seems almost completely, willfully oblivious to the tawdry reality of political takeovers by Islamist forces, or the future those forces have in mind for their people.

Once again, the childlike fantasy equation of “elections = democracy = freedom” was worked out before a global audience.  Too much of the Western political elite still seems incapable of dealing with the idea that certain populations might freely elect oppressive regimes hostile to the civilized world’s interests.  It’s not that all such populations are inevitably fated to do so; we seem to be institutionally reluctant to concede that they might do so, and have already cast a few such votes, in rather important places.

Obama offered some rhetorical concessions to the difficulty of managing “true democracy” and “real freedom” beyond simply casting a few votes.  “Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissent,” he explained… right before allowing that it’s understandable they should do so, at least in the matter of offenses to locally popular religious sensibilities.

Listening to Obama speak on these topics often makes me wonder if he really understands what “dissent” means.  He’s big on the idea of permissible, carefully controlled “dissent,” operating within strict parameters.  His domestic policy is based on the idea that wise government officials can set the parameters of dissent, based on their perception of general public consensus.  You’re not allowed to disagree with ObamaCare’s requirements to provide birth control and abortion drugs, no matter what your religious conscience says.  If you attempt to dissent from ObamaCare in full, you’ll pay a special “tax penalty,” which has grown to devour over 6 million people.  In the early days of Obama’s health care “reform,” his Administration was big on the idea that even verbal disagreement was fundamentally illegitimate, and needed to be controlled by government agencies.

You’re not allowed to dissent from central economic planning – in fact, you must surrender an ever-increasing share of your money, your economic liberty, to support the dictates of Washington.  You cannot dissent from the radical environmentalist agenda that has gone a long way toward crippling the American energy industry, transferring billions into absurd “green energy” projects.  You cannot escape from any of this, because power has been steadily transferred from state governments you can move away from, to omnipresent Washington.  To Obama, the concept of “dissent” is largely limited to infrequent votes in which the public may choose new engineers for the gigantic government machine that controls their lives.  Once the votes have been tallied, obedience is required.

Which gets us back to the big issue of the day, and the part of Obama’s U.N. speech that will dominate the headlines: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

Obama went on to stipulate that “to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied.  Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims.  It is time to heed the words of Gandhi: ‘Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.’ Together, we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, and not defined by them.  That is what America embodies, and that is the vision we will support.”

He denounced oppressive dictatorships in Iran and Syria, which is well enough, but he’s missing the central truth of the crisis at hand: an effort, not entirely controlled by specific dictatorial governments, to demand concessions from Western notions of free speech and religious tolerance.  Obama is ready to offer them.

He spent more time discussing the evils of The Video than castigating any particular example of violent oppression from the Muslim world.  In fact, he mentioned that Ambassador Stevens was “killed” in Benghazi without discussing those who killed him at all, let alone labeling them as terrorists.  But here’s what he said about The Video:

In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.

That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well – for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and religion. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion – we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views – even views that we disagree with.

Well, okay, so Obama will defend the right of people to express their views… but if their view is that Mohammed is not a sacred prophet, and was in fact a rather unpleasant chap during his life, the future must not belong to them?

I hate to be the one to broach such a delicate topic with a man so clearly confused by the American concepts of free speech, dissent, and religious tolerance, but Obama needs to understand that Islamic law does not merely frown upon particularly loud and insulting criticisms of Mohammed, and it doesn’t recommend believers refute “insults” through the vigorous exercise of their own free speech.  No one is burning down U.S. embassies to protest unflattering depictions of Jesus Christ or Holocaust denial.

Putting all of this on the same plane of equivalency is offensive.  That “crude and disgusting video” does not occupy the same solar system of outrage as violent mobs, let alone organized terror attacks on American embassy officials.  Every religion must, to some degree, grapple with the issue of “tolerating” those of different faiths, but in the modern world, only one of them routinely expresses its intolerance through large-scale violence.  We should not be making the smallest concession of free speech rights to ignore this issue and placate the mobs.  We have nothing to apologize for.  And we most certainly do not need the American president reduced to serving as a film critic, or opening a discussion with mob leaders over where they might agree to draw the boundaries of free expression.

The postmodern academic view of “insensitivity” and “intolerance” treats them as matters to be resolved through the exercise of political power, in which politically favored groups get to decide what constitutes an unforgivable offense.  Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was an enthusiastic member of the audience for a play that lampoons the Mormon faith.  Is she therefore forbidden from owning a piece of the future?  How about those who mock Scientology, including the creators of a current film that offers a thinly-veiled and unflattering dramatization of its founder’s life?  “Comedian” Bill Maher made a movie called “Religulous” that insulted various religious faiths, including Islam.  Does that mean the future doesn’t belong to him, and if so, will Obama’s Super PAC finally return the million bucks he gave them?

But you don’t even have to ask questions about the smaller or more exotic faith traditions, because no one in the United States government, most definitely including Barack Obama, is going to deploy the kind of power they’ve used against the “Innocence of Muslims” video to shut down offenses to any branch of Christianity or Judaism.  The U.S. government still subsidizes such offenses.  There is no way Obama’s notion of proscribing religious offenses could possibly be applied fairly and evenly, and any attempt to do so would quickly make a universally undeniable farce of the First Amendment.

Free speech would quickly become impossible, as every group jockeyed for the political influence and compulsive force necessary to shape it to their liking.  We would end up with a Ministry of Acceptable Discourse, deciding which religious traditions are “serious” enough to be protected from mockery, or even aggressive criticism.  We’d have European-style speech codes, which are fundamentally incompatible with American constitutional law, and don’t seem to be paying many dividends anyway.

And that wouldn’t be new.  That’s pretty much what has been happening to free speech and dissent in this country for decades.  Nothing about that degeneration of American values is improved by having our chief executive negotiate the limits of free speech before the United Nations, with negotiating “partners” who have little interest in compromise, and have been given no reason by Obama to develop any.  He didn’t need to do anything except repeat America’s unshakeable commitment to free speech and true religious tolerance.  He said much less than that, using far more words.

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  • mattbatt0

    I notice that you don’t bother to mention that those in our country who are actually dissenting (the Occupy movement) are actually having their civil rights actually violated, as opposed to your fictitious Christian who is clutching at her pearls watching Faux “news” and wondering how the availability of birth control pills will ruin her life.

  • John Hayward

    I don’t know what you’re babbling about, but have a good time talking to yourself about it. Do you actually *see* the imaginary Christian clutching her pearls? If so, consult your therapist immediately.

  • 2shinyshoes

    A man without a clue, living in a world of fantasy. And embarassement to the American people. So disrespectful of all we stand for. Rest in Peace Chris Stevens, you sacrificed so much for the current Administration who has no concept or appreciation. It was a thankless job.

  • GeorgeStGeorge

    If the future will not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam, it will be because those words will fall on deaf ears. When bigotry is ignored or marginalized, it tends to go away. But if you try to show that believers in your faith are not murderous, rioting mobs, by murdering and rioting, the future will never be yours.


    Another Obamabot!

  • TanongSak

    And what about the dissent of the Tea Party movement, which loud-mouthed, empty-headed Maxine Waters would send to hell?! Unlike the “Occupy” movement, a mindless rabble, the Tea Party actually knows what it stands for, and what it’s against. But since what it’s against is Obama and his collectivist fantasies, it gets marginalized, or condemned as “bigotry.”

  • Nubian

    hah hah.

  • Bruce Ramsey

    In Islam, slandering the prophet is just questioning the Qur’an and the motivations of Islam. This is really creepy, folks.

  • Bruce Ramsey

    I have a feeling when he said “my…Muslim faith”, that wasn’t a brain fart.

  • loveshiandsid

    How has the Occupy Movement had it’s civil rights – individually and collectively – violated?
    the Occupy Movement received waaaay more consideration from local and Federal law officials when their protests moved into rape and murder (check out Oakland CA and DC).
    No one was removed when illegally “camping on public/national property, arrested for rape, drug-dealing (which was rampant) or killing another (Oakland, purported in DC)
    Run that by me again … “actually having their civil rights actually violated” …

  • loveshiandsid

    did you see how many times poster used “actually” in one run-on sentence? College student who does not know how to properly write for comprehension :)

  • Nubian

    First a huge thank you for balance. You included the bolded quote about prophet of Islam but I applaud that you included the context Obama used it in (as part of hate – that those who blaspheme religious leaders will not be the champions of tomorrow).

    Yet, a correction still….

    (1) Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on [political] dissent. Is equated to not wanting to pay a tax penalty incurred on those without the penalty would be free riders on a system that the rest of us pay for? Economic policy (which SCOTUS called a tax) is equated to political dissent? Also, and more damingly, you confuse political dissent with LEGISLATION.

    Are you really sooooo detached from reality that you forget that the bill as one passed by that little thing we call Congress. You might have hated the democratic house and senate, but it was they who imposed that tax on you so that universal health care is feasible.

    I’m not even going to mention that Democrat’s and Obama’s initial plan was the single payer, not this penalty for not purchasing health care fiasco that ended up being our cumbersome compromise to make universal health care work. Its far from perfect (Affordable Care Act), but your analogy is comparing apples with cars.

    (2) You think the Muslims are the only ones moved to violence b/c of their religion? You are clearly not a student of history. No one is burning down U.S. embassies to protest unflattering depictions of Jesus Christ or Holocaust denial.
    Have you heard of the Crusades? In more modern history, the Bosnian Muslims massacred during Clinton’s administration? Religion has been an excuse for violence throughout long past, medium past recent past and “just yesterday” history. Or, in a very direct way that is controversial, WHAT ABOUT the pro lifers who kill abortion doctors b/c their faith tells them that terminating a pregnancy is murder? What about all the people who cheer that person on to murder a doctor? Religion begets way more violence than anything else I can think of. You are a silly fool for thinking these Muslims (as sensitive and outrageous as they are with their violent reaction to this random angry person’s video) are alone….even today.

    (3) We would end up with a Ministry of Acceptable Discourse, deciding which religious traditions are “serious” enough to be protected from mockery, or even aggressive criticism. We’d have European-style speech codes, which are fundamentally incompatible with American constitutional law, and don’t seem to be paying many dividends anyway.
    STOP SCARING YOUR READERS. May I remind the readers that Obama’s speech was a resounding battle cry for free speech where MANY representatives in the audience don’t come close to believing in free speech themselves. This speech was to declare to the world what the US’s principles and values are about. John is linking non-sequitors for the sake of creating fear out of triumph.

  • HomesickExWasillan

    Well, I disagree, Mr. President.
    Jesus is Lord, Mohammed is a liar.
    Jesus is alive, and Mohammed is STILL dead.

  • globalcrap

    How many in the name of moohaaamed will these O Bogus mooslums murder today??

  • Zeeshan Arshad

    There is no need of any human brain to comment on any prophet sent by good.All were chosen people by God.So keep silent you all…………

  • Zeeshan Arshad

    not a single muslim curse any prophet but jesus do so why?

  • Guest

    Garbage! With Obama’s halal logic, then the ‘Da Vinci Code’ must have
    been a slander too! How about Dante? … Moreover, it is a well-known
    fact from and based on Islamic own source, that, for instance, “Muhammad
    ordered his fans to murder his critics”, or that “Muhammad raped the
    Coptic Christian Maryam:, or that “Muhammad used his satanic pet Allah
    to silence critics from among his own followers” .. do I slander him if I
    underscore *those fact* from *Islamic text*? .. F-_k Obama the
    presidential traitor!!! .. fact is, one is *insane* to criticize Jesus,
    or Siddharta, or Zoroaster; but Muhammad, the Bedouin idiot who told his
    followers to drink camel pee? … Muhammad is a heinous person! Back
    then, and now too.

  • Jaka Damar

    Garbage! With Obama’s halal logic, then the ‘Da Vinci Code’ must have
    been a slander too! How about Dante? … Moreover, it is a well-known
    fact from and based on Islamic own source, that, for instance, “Muhammad
    ordered his fans to murder his critics”, or that “Muhammad raped the
    Coptic Christian Maryam:, or that “Muhammad used his satanic pet Allah
    to silence critics from among his own followers” .. do I slander him if I
    underscore *those fact* from *Islamic text*? .. F**k Obama the
    presidential traitor!!! .. fact is, one is *insane* to criticize Jesus,
    or Siddharta, or Zoroaster; but Muhammad, the Bedouin idiot who told his
    followers to drink camel pee? … Muhammad is a heinous person! Back
    then, and now too.

  • fiveradios

    We don’t want universal health care! HELLOOO…The majority of the American people DID NOT WANT it. AT ALL. Crazily, you confuse illegal legislation with the overwhelming will of the PEOPLE. *scratches head* Moving on:

    Everything you have said in your ‘point number 2′ is just so much regurgitated nonsense that is repeated over and over again by the ‘RELIGION KILLS!!!!’ mob with really no basis in fact or context. You claim to be a lover of balance, yet you conveniently forget so MANY IMPORTANT FACTS in favor of the uninformed point you are trying to make. You are deluded if you believe any religion in HISTORY has fostered as much violence as Islam has. No where in the Christian scriptures are we commanded to murder unbelievers…and quoting out of context from the old testament doesn’t work. Sorry. Find one scripture in the Bible that makes a sweeping overall command to KILL UNBELIEVERS that isn’t blatantly referring to an ancient story. You won’t find one.

    The Crusades — This sad entry into the annals of the history of the Church is so often flung about with loud sanctimony by the left as PROOF that Christians (or conservatives of any religion if you want to be technical) are war mongering, violent, psychopaths that seek only to stifle the rights and dignity of women and flog people with a dissenting voice. It was a terrible travesty that was wrought in the name of God…many millions of people killed and tortured. It was a dark time, to be sure. The ruling class throughout the middle ages and beyond frequently USED GOD for their own ends to FRIGHTEN PEOPLE into doing their will. What makes you unquestionably KNOW FOR A FACT that this is the way God Himself intended humanity to behave? Why do you assume that Believers today are the EXACT SAME as the RULING CLASS of the DARK AGES? Most Christians today abhor the atrocities done in the name of God! And indeed I can say with all certainty GOD HIMSELF abhorred all the violence done throughout history! I do not question God, mainly because I don’t know his thoughts.
    I DO however know He is grieved when the FEW EXTREMISTS are so misguided that they would resort to murdering the doctors who murder the unborn. God commands us not to take revenge on others. We are not to do such things. Of course there will always be nutjobs who take the law into their own hands. This brings up an important factor….The mainstream media jumps ALL OVER these types of stories….making them out to be things that happen ALL THE TIME IN THE NAME OF JESUS…”JESUS TOLD ME TO KILL THE ABORTIONIST!!!!” The press love it. But do you ever hear the stories of failed abortions? Women maimed from botched abortions? Young girls dying from sepsis because their parents had no CLUE their 13 year old daughter had a major medical procedure? Of course not. Abortion is HUGE business. The media would never print stories of the horror that occurs every single day. CHOICE is far too important to care about something silly like the safety of women.
    You gushed that Obama’s speech was a ‘resounding battle cry for free speech’…lol, not sure where you got that but ooook. Do some searching on our enigmatic POTUS and you will find some interesting information, if you have an open mind.
    You tell Hayward to Stop scaring his readers. LMAO I say, keep talking Hayward!. He isn’t scaring anyone! It’s the honestly uninformed like YOU who scare the crap out of me….you scare me because there are millions of you. That’s why people like Hayward should keep printing things that irritate people like you. Maybe some of it will get through.

  • Nubian

    To try and address the non-blabbering paranoid part of your long post:

    1. More than 50% of America now wants some form of health care. The issue is HOW its done.
    2. You confuse illegal legislation with duly passed legislation. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it illegal. Just makes you a sore loser.
    3. I think the last number I saw for people killed by Christian crusades was north of 200,000. Modern Islam has zealout competitors, yes. Its convenient to say Christians today don’t advocate for violence. Most Muslims today don’t either. There are extremists for sure that propagate violence. Also, no one is cheering on the failed abortionists (if any). Plenty of people cheered on the pro-lifer that killed the abortion doctor. How is that different from the Pakistanis cheering on 9/11. In God’s eyes probably nothing – murders to avenge murders right? Give me a break. When are we going to go toward peace instead of “when we murder its justified and when others murder its murder.” Ridiculous.
    Finally, I’m not irritated anymore – haven’t been for weeks. Just amazed. You are not the only reader. Corrections to errors are made, which is always helpful for any reader (whether they believe it or not)

  • Pennell

    It’s okay if the president shoves his HHS mandate down the throats of we Christians, it’s okay when Obama made the comment that certain Americans cling to their religion and guns. Yes, that’s okay to attack Christians and we like dummies put up with this crap but defend Islam mr. President.
    I hope and pray to Christ that Obama does not get re-elected this coming November….

  • AlanOnDISQUS

    By giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable. F.A. Hayek

  • Nubian

    Where do you see an attempt to give the government unlimited powers?

  • AlanOnDISQUS

    The SCOTUS interpretation of the US Constitution. “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” – John Marshall

  • Bruce Ramsey

    Sounds like Oblamer didn’t have a brain fart when he said, “my…Muslim faith”.

  • Nubian

    Ah, the ignorance that abounds on this site. When Justice Marshall said that, he was not talking about the government taxing individuals. He was talking about the state taxing the federal government. He feared that the state could put the tax so high that the branch of the Federal Bank would not be able to continue doing business in that state. Since no state can interfere with a legitimate federal entity, Maryland (which was the state trying to tax the federal bank) was not entitled to tax the federal bank.

    You know, I wonder how ALL these quotes you people say to sound like you are smart are so twisted from the true meanings and given new meaning, yet still attributed to the original quoter. Its pretty fantastic gymnastics.

  • AlanOnDISQUS

    Some focus on the trees and lose the forest. I am both aware of the origin of the quote and also aware that in its full generality it is a stark warning against unlimited government taxing authority. The Roberts decision appears to expand federal taxing authority with no obvious limits.

  • Nubian

    So you apply the quote in a context that the speaker did not mean and attribute it to the speaker. Ok. I get it. If you are going to say it, say it, but attributing to the speaker is misleading because he did not say it in the context you are putting it in.

    Second, you can’t expand tax authority – you can only label something a tax or not. I actually think Roberts’ decision was a huge win for conservatives (who, mind you, means more than anti-Affordable Care Act folks). Roberts reigned in the commerce clause….which just is a HUGE win for small(er) government folks (aka conservatives). This is an example of focusing on the weeds (tax issue) and missing the big picture win (commerce clause). There are WAY more applications to commerce clause laws than taxing.

  • AlanOnDISQUS

    The sensible limitation of the commerce clause was long overdue, and even the dissent recognized that a limit had been reached. The dissent more accurately found no justification that the penalty was a tax – that the entirety of the ACA should have been voided. I think labeling a penalty as a tax for political convenience sets a precedent that expands federal authority in a way very similar to how the commerce clause was being misused. We may have to disagree on this.

  • Adam Kratt

    The Crusades, if you read history, occured because armed Muslim hordes were raping, murdering and killing unarmed Christian pilgrims headed to Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

    As for Bosnia, the Christians didn’t slaughter the Muslims, they were defending themselves from Islamic aggression. Yes the Christians did over do it in the defense department but what were they supposed to do with the Muslims raping their daughters.

  • Nubian

    That is like saying the wackos that shoot up Columbine did it b/c they were being bullied.

  • Nubian

    You are defining majority for your own purposes. All you are saying is you agree with the dissent. Congrats. The majority is law.

  • Jonathan Hughes

    What we should not desecrate are people. Jesus is in people. We are not our own. We are bought with a price. Muslims and Obama are obsessed with pysical man made things. What spirituality is consists of are things that are not seen or touched. Military desicrates life. Islamic law desicrates life. Quran, military and legal system desecrates life. Both need to be dismantled.

  • Jonathan Hughes

    People took what Obama said out of context to give a false impression.