We took the position earlier today that European papers were, on balance, wrong to publish caricatures of Mohammed which, though perhaps quite mild in the eyes of a Western observer, were nevertheless sufficiently inflammatory to offend the religious sensibilities of millions of Muslims. We argued that as Christians we certainly wouldn't want Christ to be the object of caricature in the major press organs of the world, and we are therefore enjoined by Jesus' command to "do unto others as we would be done by" to refrain from needless ridicule of that which others hold sacred.
Having said that, we have to add that the violent reaction to this perceived affront by Muslims around the world is the very reason their religion is held in such low esteem by outsiders. Rather than rely upon the levers of peaceful protest, a form of pressure apparently unknown in the Islamic world, today's news is full of threats of murder and kidnappings of innocent Europeans. Unable to comprehend the concepts of separation of church and state and freedom of the press, Muslims everywhere are holding the governments and businesses of the countries in which the cartoons were published responsible for what their newspapers printed.
So, the European media acted with contempt for the religious convictions of members of a major world religion, and Muslims in turn responded like thugs and savages. We can't say that either is a surprise.
Meanwhile, American networks, out of respect for Muslims, they assure us, have chosen not to air the cartoons. As Michelle Malkin observes, it's a pity that the nets don't show the same solicitous concern for the sensibilities of Christians. Michelle convincingly catalogs the hypocrisy of their rationale which is really just a cover for cowardice.
No surprise here, either.