One would think that the president of the United States... the globe's appointed leader of the "free" world... would believe in free speech. Right? After all, our Constitution was amended precisely so that there would be no doubt on the importance of free speech. And yet, in Barack Obama's speech at the United Nations, he said the future does not belong to those who "slander the prophet of Islam." Oh really?
Yes, that's what Barack Obama said. In a speech spanning some 4,000 words, Obama hit on a number of topics. He started off by talking about murdered U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. He called the attacks against U.S. civilians an attack "on America." But he did not call it a terrorist act. He then drifted off into talk of peace and hope and diplomacy... knowing full well that radical Islamic terrorists do not seek out any of the above.
As Dan Gainor points out in an opinion piece on Fox News, later in the speech, Obama said something that should send a chill down the spine of any one who was listening. Unfortunately, none of the so-called mainstream media outlets chose to cover it:
The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country's resources -- it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs, the workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the women and men that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.
The key line, of course is: The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. And why not? As Erick Erickson points out in his column:
It is an orthodox Christian belief that Mohammed is not a prophet. Actual Christians, as opposed to many of the supposed Christians put up by the mainstream media, believe that Christ is the only way to salvation. Believing that is slandering Mohammed. That's just a fact.
So is Obama blasting Christians? Not necessarily, but there is no doubt that he was particularly focusing on Islam with his remarks, and then... to be cute and all encompassing, he throws Christianity and the Holocaust in there too.
But our own president of the United States misses the entire point! Is it offensive to see some painting of Jesus with someone urinating on Him? YES! But that leads to the two real points that Obama either can't grasp or won't admit:
1. That people have a RIGHT to be offensive. It is free speech. An American ideal that should be defended by Obama and all presidents.
2. That because someone is offended, does not give them a pass to kill people. How many offensive cartoons, sculptures, paintings, plays, skits, television shows, bill boards... you name it... are offensive to Christians and Christianity? TONS! Yet how many diplomats and public servants are getting murdered over them? NONE!
Obama says that we should not exercise free speech? And the media are silent over this? Of anything said during, Obama's speech, this IS the key sound bite.
As pointed out by the Heritage Foundation, instead of defending free speech, Obama gave a hint at the need to police free speech:
President Obama spent less time defending free speech than he did outlining a vague vision for a world with tolerance and diversity as its key ideals. Perhaps this lopsided emphasis sought to reinforce the administration's dubious claim that only hateful speech is to blame for the attacks on our embassies, but the overall effect was to lend credibility to the notion that governments should be policing speech.
Where are the questions from the media? Does Barack Obama believe in free speech? Does he believe someone has the right to make an offensive Internet video? Or... as he said, does he believe that the "future" does not belong to those who "slander the prophet of Islam?" I'd really like to know.