Yesterday I posted an aside regarding the attempted murder of the Danish cartoonist who drew the cartoon that provoked violent responses in the Muslim world.
Today I saw this news story regarding reactions to a Malaysian court ruling that non-Muslims could use the word Allah. Behold how much violence a small matter kindles!
I am an advocate for courtesy in discourse as long as it comports with honesty. But I want to use this story to clarify that while I am in favor of courtesy, I oppose laws that demand it, and I do not believe laws should require it, nor do I believe that its lack can justify violence.
Right now, a great deal of the discussion regarding offending religious people relates to Islam, though the situation in Ireland indicates it’s much broader. So just to be clear, I also oppose laws against blasphemy as defined by Christians, nor do I think there is a justification for violent anger over insults.
If I went further, speaking as a Christian, I believe that we should handle such things graciously and honestly, rejecting any violent response, and remaining courteous even when others are not. But that courtesy should be our choice, not something imposed.