A lot of Christians are very upset about what they see as an assault on their faith by The Da Vinci Code. Some are threatening legal action, at least in Europe. It is ironic that the movie houses and filmmakers, both of which stand to make a boodle on this film, would never have dreamed of making or showing a film which debunked or embarrassed Islam. Muslims have managed to frighten Hollywood into a state of craven self-censorship.
As Joseph Bottum writes at First Things the lesson will not be lost on the fringe elements among Christians who will ask themselves why violence should not be used if it works so effectively.
An entertainment culture that regularly perpetrates the most disgusting insults on the Christian faith, knowing that Christians will not slit their throats over it, recoils in terror from printing a few bland cartoons of Mohammed.
The greatest threat to free speech in this country is the willingness of those who make their living off of it to exploit it to offend only those who will not punish them for it. What good is free speech, people are going to wonder, if it can be employed to satirize one group but not another? What good is it if those who threaten violence are exempted from its barbs?
The failure of the media and the entertainment industry to stand up to Islamic intimidation will only encourage others who have been offended by those institutions, which depend upon the protections of the first amendment, to threaten violence themselves.