Is it ethical to support “Lets Draw Mohamed Day 2011”

Tomorrow, 20th May, is the official “Lets Draw Mohamed day”. Given the high degree of offense this causes, is it ethical to support it or participate in it?

The short simple answer is “Yes“, however, it is still appropriate to mull over this so that as we move forward, we do so with a clear understanding as to why this is the clearest, most logical, and ethical answer.

To start, I’ll lay a foundation that underpins the answer. There are two very fundamental and well-recognized human rights that have emerged, and there is general consensus for the support of both. These are as follows:

  1. Freedom of Thought” – everybody should be free to believe whatever they wish, however rational or irrational it might be
  2. Freedom of Speech” – everybody should have the right to criticize

Where the above all falls apart is when “belief” steps in and says:

  • “Only my belief is correct, any other belief is wrong and merits a death sentence”
  • “Any criticism of my belief is not only offensive, it is so abhorrent that it merits a death sentence”

When you point this reality out, the most common reply from many believers is some variation of “Oh but my specific shade of belief is the correct one, all the others out there committing such evil deeds are not ‘true’ believers like me“. There are of course fundamental problems with this counter-claim, but valid criticism of irrational but benign beliefs is not our topic, so lets put that to one side and focus on the irrational and lethal beliefs we need to contend with.

Today we have a stark reality that includes …

  • Death sentences for criticism of a belief
  • Riots of thousands that includes the burning of embassies and slaughtering of staff due to the burning of a book or the existence of a  cartoon.
  • Threatening the lives of cartoonists to the point where the threats are so credible that people have to go into hiding.
  • Pulling the plug on entire aspects of the Internet because of the irrational response of specific believers unable to tolerate other viewpoints
  • Elected officials of large countries suggesting that merely burning a book constitutes a ‘threat to global peace’.

When faced with such intimidation and threats you have a choice. You can either remain silent and so implicitly allow the insanity to prevail, or you can protest, not using weapons or violence, but instead by deploying satire and humor.

In essence, “Lets Draw Mohamed Day” is a valid but totally benign criticism of an utterly irrational belief that is behaving in a completely immoral way.  As for the claim that it is “offensive” to participate in this valid criticism of this utterly irrational belief for which there is not one single credible jot of evidence, well I find their truly silly claims to also be utterly offensive, so if we apply their standards, then they would need to immediately stop believing such offensive nonsense.

Here are a couple of links …

Happy drawing folks …

4 thoughts on “Is it ethical to support “Lets Draw Mohamed Day 2011””

  1. While I don’t believe we should invoke anger, however the censorship of a cartoon is ridiculous. There are more then a fair share of Christian, or Buddhist satire, but when a cartoonist makes a cartoon of the Muslim prophet,*watch out* (sarcastic). I’m a Christian, and I don’t burn books or bomb embassies cause someone makes fun of my belief. Add for the record the crusades were done in Jesus’ name but not by Christians, if you read the Bible it clearly states NOT to steal and kill over greed. But if you read the corran it clearly says to murder infidels for looking at you funny(disrespectfully, muslim women, etc,etc). What I’m saying is I support you in following the constitution, and rights there in, and draw funny cartoons of the Muslim prophet who calls all Muslims to murder innocent people because they don’t thinks he’s great.

  2. Having read both your arguments, I have to side with James on this. Sadly, I can barely draw water from a tap, so am unable to join in. Good luck James, and take care.

  3. I understand your point Rick, but allow me to suggest a different purpose for the day. I do not join in to cause anger. Quite the opposite. By showing those murderous would-be censors an overwhelming multitude of offenders, we take away their ability to terrorize each individual who dares to satirize Mohamed. We water down their outrage to the point that they must adjust to a world full of Mohamed cartoons.

    Before Draw Mohamed Day, people were being actively pursued with death threats because they had drawn a picture. Drawn a picture! Today, I will draw and publish online a satirical image of Mohamed, and I feel confident that no harm will come to me as a result. That is the successful outcome of the day.

    I freely and openly mock all other religions, and I demand as my absolute right an environment in which I can freely and openly mock Islam.

    I fully support the campaign and feel it is everyone’s moral duty to join in.

  4. Allow me to humbly offer a counterpoint.

    Muslims are easily moved to anger when artists draw Mohammed in order to make fun of their cultural norms. That is certainly their failure, and we should criticize them for their bad acts and bad decisions in the wake of such anger. It’s wrong and should be called such.

    However, make no mistake: the *only purpose of Draw Mohammed Day is to provoke that anger*. It’s not an attempt at communication. It’s not an attempt to bridge any gaps, to include people in the conversation or to win converts in the marketplace of ideas. Its *sole purpose is to inflame*.

    We atheists, who claim to be rational, thoughtful, with a passion for objectively real facts and a desire to free everyone from the shackles of superstition: We should be better, and we should act better, than people who subscribe to supernatural ideas. Without exception.


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