Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Aren't our Generals supposed to DEFEND the Constitution?

I realize that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey is to follow the orders of his Commander-in-Chief but whether he picked up the phone and called Florida pastor Terry Jones to chill first amendment rights on his own or at the behest of the President makes little difference. Not only isn't it Dempsey's place to do so but his first priority is to defend the rights of all Americans NOT to have their rights chilled at all.

That apparently didn't stop him from picking up the phone and calling Jones.

Via Al Arabiya News:
The U.S. military’s top officer has urged a controversial Christian pastor to disavow a film that has ignited violent protests over its portrayal of the Islamic faith, a spokesman said Wednesday.

A day after a deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi possibly sparked by the movie, General Martin Dempsey made a direct appeal to Pastor Terry Jones to reject the film to defuse tensions.

“In the brief call, Gen. Dempsey expressed his concerns over the nature of the film, the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause,” his spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said in an email.

“He asked Mr Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film,” he said.
What kind of message does this send to the Arab world? Note the news source that ran this story.

Moreover, apparently taking a cue from the actions of Dempsey is USA Today writer, Anthea Butler, who is actually siding with Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi by calling for the arrest of the man responsible for making the film that has allegedly so enflamed the Arab world. While doing so, Butler cites Dempsey.

Via USA Today:
My initial tweet about Bacile, the person said to be responsible for the film mocking the prophet Mohammed, was not because I am against the First Amendment. My tweets reflected my exasperation that as a religion professor, it is difficult to teach the facts when movies such as Bacile's Innocence of Muslims are taken as both truth and propaganda, and used against innocent Americans.

If there is anyone who values free speech, it is a tenured professor!

So why did I tweet that Bacile should be in jail? The "free speech" in Bacile's film is not about expressing a personal opinion about Islam. It denigrates the religion by depicting the faith's founder in several ludicrous and historically inaccurate scenes to incite and inflame viewers. Even the film's actors say they were duped.
Butler then argues that the difference between Bacile's film and The Last Temptation of Christ, which was insulting to Christianity is that Muslims reacted differently than Christians did. Therefore, Bacile should be responsible.


Here is where we get to the realm of unintended consequences on Dempsey's part; Butler uses his actions to attempt to make her case:
Bacile's movie does not excuse the rioting in Libya and Egypt, or the murder of Americans. That is deplorable. Unfortunately, people like Bacile and Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who provoked international controversy by burning copies of the Quran, have a tremendous impact on religious tolerance and U.S. foreign policy.

Case in point: Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Jones on Wednesday to ask him to stop promoting Bacile's film. Clearly, the military considers the film a serious threat to national security. If the military takes it seriously, there should be consequences for putting American lives at risk.
Essentially, Butler is saying Islam's problem with our freedom of speech should become our problem.

That's like saying players who lose a championship game should be held to account for the angry fans rioting in the streets.

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