Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Instapundit brought up a very good point regarding the politics of being thin-skinned.

My aunt took me to see Serrano's exhibit back when I was a kid, and I remember thinking - oh, gross. She wanted to see Piss Christ because it was scandalous and iconoclastic. Well, something was happening to an icon, I guess.

Though I'd parted ways with my Parish a couple years earlier (much to the chagrin of the practicing side of the family), I felt sorry for the people for whom this was a slap in the face. My Grandma and Grandpa, for whom the Church was more than just a source of spiritual sustenance and comfort, didn't need to see this all over the news. I also remembered, in spite of my feeling about my Church, siding a bit with the people who protested funding for this and being told that they were too thin-skinned, humorless, closed-minded. Perhaps a little, but I don't remember anyone starting any murderous rampages. In fact, I think I'd seen about as many people saying that they thought this disgusting (like I do), but didn't want to see it banned or anything. Same with the Last Temptation of Christ brouhaha. (Haven't seen the movie, so am reserving judgement on it. I prefer my biblical story movies to have a Cecil DeMille feel to them.)

In a free society, you have stuff like this. In a free society, you have to cultivate a thick skin. In a free society, one has to understand that they're not going to like or feel comfortable about everything they hear or see.

Contrast the Catholic reactions above with a few Muslim reactions in recent history:

Mention that Mohammed might have found some girls in a beauty contest pretty: riots that kills scores and a fatwah issued for your death.

Write a book that can be viewed as critical to Islam: a fatwah issued for your death.

Publish false reports of Koran Desecration and later attempt to retract them: Well, we all know how this is playing out.

Seems as though there are a few common threads here, and I don't know that I like their looks. Perhaps I'm not being charitable enough to the cultural peculiarities of others. Perhaps I don't like being held to a different set of standards.

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