Last week, a trial court in Pakistan sentenced a 26-year-old Muslim woman to death for blasphemy against Islam for posting a cartoon of Muhammad on the internet. When we look at that story, it underscores how barbaric and unenlightened places like Pakistan really are. And in the past, we would view this story as a reason to be thankful to live in the United States where people can express themselves without fear of a heavy-handed government cracking down on them. ‘That can’t happen here,’ we would say.
But we can no longer be so sure that that type of thing can’t, and won’t happen to us in the United States. Recently, famous talk show host Howard Stern said anyone who disagrees with his stance on vaccinations should die. He stated that any unvaccinated person who contracted Covid-19 should be denied medical care in hospitals; they should “go home and die”. CNNs Don Lemon agreed. He recently said that if you are unvaccinated and get Covid then you “shouldn’t go and take up the [hospital] resources from someone else." So, basically, they are calling on the government to allow those who reject the government sponsored vaccine to die.
These people will argue that toeing the line by getting vaccinated is in the greater good of society, and the deaths of those people who choose not to get vaccinated will be an example to the rest of the unvaccinated crowd compelling everyone to do what’s in society’s best interest. That is a very similar argument that the Pakistani judge who sentence the woman to death used to justify his decision. Mocking Muhammad is not in the best interest of their Muslim society, so her death is an example to others who may want to publicly defame Muhammad, and harm their society. We, in America, see the executing this young Pakistani woman as barbaric, but many see allowing people to die of Covid because they didn’t get vaccinated as reasonable. But all reasonable people know that they are both equally barbaric.
The type of thinking promoted by Stern and Lemon, allowing the unvaccinated to die of Covid is opening the door to where they are in Pakistan. Denying someone healthcare for whatever reason when we know that they will die without it, is tantamount to murder. We do not deny people healthcare in America for any reason. It doesn’t matter who the patient is, or if the patient can pay or not, if you show up at the hospital, you will get healthcare you need. We provided the Boston Marathon bombers life-saving healthcare after they were injured in a shootout with the police after they murdered people in the bombing at the marathon because if we had denied them healthcare, and knowingly allowed them to die, that would be murder. But certain people in our country want to treat Islamic terrorists who murdered United States citizens better than people who choose not to get vaccinated, harming no one but themselves.
But this is where our thinking in America is today. We are much closer to Pakistan than America 20 years ago. If it is okay to allow the unvaccinated to die, how soon will we be dropping Trump voters off ten story buildings like the Pakistanis do to gays. This is what happens in a society that approves of censorship. This is the end result when you start demanding that everyone must adhere to the orthodoxy, and the heretics must be censored, then canceled. At some point, the heretics will be put to death.
In 2022 American, if you do not adhere to the radical gender orthodoxy, you will be fired, or canceled. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, is being denied participation in the franchise she created because she happened to question radical gender orthodoxy. Female swimmers at the University of Pennsylvania where a man who is transitioning into a woman is breaking all the women’s swim records, only object to this injustice anonymously because they fear the backlash of voicing their opinion out loud.
The censors and the cancelers may not take your life right now, but they will take your livelihood. They will render you a non-entity in society; you will be ostracized, and a pariah. They will cut you out of even the bare necessities of life. They will take everything of you except your life which in many cases is a fate as bad as death.
Free speech in all its forms, even the speech which we individually believe is intolerable, must be defended. When the door of censorship is opened even a crack, as we have seen with big tech, the authoritarians will crash through it unapologetically. When you take people’s ability to freely express themselves and their beliefs, you are taking the essence of their being, who they are is denied. The core argument in the radical gender theory is that these people have the right to express who they are, and yet the same people who will passionately argue for their rights of free expression will work to deny others who disagree with them the right to freely express their beliefs on the same subject matter. They are simply replacing one form of authoritarianism with their own form of authoritarianism that benefits them.
And this is how it works. When Tucker Carlson spoke out against an impending war with Russia over Ukraine, a former Clinton official, Alexandra Chalupa, argued that he should be tried for treason as an enemy of the state, and jailed. She didn’t put forth her argument as to why we need to spend trillions of dollars and lose the lives of tens of thousands of our soldiers fighting the Russians over Ukraine. She didn’t do what a person who believes in democracy would do. No, she wants anyone who disagrees with her to be thrown in jail, and that is infinitely more of a threat to the United States than Russia invading Ukraine.
But this is where we are in our politics in America. There are hundreds of United States citizens who have been sitting in prison for over a year because they had the temerity to question the validity of the 2020 election, and they trespassed at the United States Capital. Yet there are thousands of people who rioted in our cities, burned buildings to the ground, injured cops in 2020, who had all their charges dropped. Why, because they supported the liberal orthodoxy, where the election protesters believe the opposite.
Even though communism is an existential threat to America, in the 1950s, we rejected McCarthyism which wanted to destroy the very lives of communists and, communist sympathizers in order to protect America, because we knew that McCarthyism was just as much of an existential threat to America as communism, so, it was left up to us to rely on the truth about communism to defeat communism, not censorship of communism.
Censorship is dangerous because it picks winners and losers. In 2015, Barack Obama told the UN, “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”. It seemed strange because Jesus gets slandered all the time in our culture and in the world, and Barack Obama did not feel the need to stand up and defend Jesus, he only felt the need to defend Muhammad. So, our sitting President can determine which religious leaders we can slander, and which ones we cannot because he didn’t say, “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of any religion”. So, in his eyes Muhammad is off limits, while Jesus and Buddha are fair game. And what exactly did he mean when he said the “future must not belong to”? Are those who slander the “prophet of Islam” to be denied a future? What exactly is he insinuating with that veiled threat? Part of religious tolerance is being strong enough in your faith to tolerate when people criticize or even mock your own religion and religious leaders. But when it comes to Mohammad, his followers believe he must be completely untouchable. To correct Obama’s statement, the future must not belong to authoritarians. They are more of a threat than those who slander religious leaders.
But that’s how these people work, religious liberty for me, but not for thee. If people have the right to worship Muhammad, then other people should have the right to slander Muhammad. We, as Christians, know this first hand because Jesus is mocked all the time in movies and on television but as believers, we are strong enough in our faith to not see that as an existential threat to our religion because even Jesus warned that this would happen. Part of being a Christian is learning to live with the ridicule from non-believers, and being strong enough to know that Jesus is the Lord and Savior regardless of what they say. The necessity to execute those who mock or speak out against Muhammad exposes how unsure his followers are in their own beliefs. We Christians know that Jesus Christ can stand up to all comers. Jesus defeated death and the devil; do you think he’s going to shrink away from some pseudo-intellectual atheist who mock him? Do you think his truth cannot defeat their shallow arguments so they need to be censored, or executed? Come on now. He’s the alpha and the omega.
But that goes to the larger point, when you are strong in your beliefs whether they be political or religious, and you know that what you believe in is grounded in the truth, then you do not need to censor or execute those who speak out against your beliefs, against the truth. The call for censorship is the red flag that points the way to what is the truth and what is false. That which is being censored is usually the truth, and those who are calling for censorship are usually the ones who are the purveyors of falsehoods. If Muhammad was really the one true God, then it would not be necessary to execute a young woman who posted a disparaging cartoon of him on the internet. Mohammed would be bigger than that. Yet his followers are continually proving how small he really is. Just as if the orthodoxy that Dr. Fauci continually spouts was really the truth, there would be no need to censor or cancel those who questioned or contradicted him because the truth defeats all comers. The call for censorship and canceling merely exposes those censors and cancelers for how small and how wrong they really are.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.