The problem is not Free Speech, the problem is extreme, violent action by religious extremists.
PZ sums it up very well:
We live in a world where some Catholics will froth at the mouth and send death-threats and call for people to be fired over insults to a scrap of magic, holy bread; we live in a world where some Muslims will kill random people if someone insults their magic, holy book. That ought to be recognized as the real problem and a call for more criticism, not less, of religion…
Recall that 99.99% of Christians, Muslims and Atheists alike do not provoke each other senselessly. I don’t care what you believe, provided you keep me out of it. I don’t think specific pieces of bread are sacred and I don’t think a collection of pieces of paper with ink on them is sacred. You are not keeping me out of it if you force me, by law or violence, to treat them as sacred. Like I said, I’m not going to desecrate pieces of bread or paper because it’s not how I choose to express myself and I consider it needlessly provocative. I do think it is “valid” protected free speech.
It is untenable if the reaction to extreme speech is violence. There can be no peace if that is the case. The only valid reaction to free speech is more free speech. We must universally condemn violent response to free speech. It’s not the retarded preacher in Florida’s fault that people chose to react with violence. It’s ludicrous and indefensible that people would consider violence an expected or appropriate response.
Focus on the right problem. The problem is not free speech. It’s religious extremism.
2011-04-04 » lolife