I just can’t identify at all with this mentality that religious beliefs are 100% beyond scrutiny. Threatening (or committing) violence against anyone who says something negative about one’s beliefs is, to me, a form of mental illness. Bad programming. Labeling critics as “racists” is marginally less crazy, but still absurd. Does criticizing the Westboro Baptists make someone anti-white? It’s stupid logic and I’m amazed that the secular left is engaging in it.
But this should apply to any religion — if violence is an acceptable means to an end, your beliefs deserve to be judged by the world at large. Put humanity first, because that’s the one thing we all have in common. (Good luck with that, right?)
Surely, rational discourse should be permitted to tiptoe cautiously along the hallowed corridors of the house of Islam without the guards frogmarching it out, bellowing allegations of racism and bigotry. Cannot we not agree that the real issue is whether the critiques of Islam proffered by today’s prominent atheists are correct? For instance, does Islam fall short when it comes to women’s rights? Does it trample free speech while enforcing its own precepts, by the sword if necessary? By all means, apologists may disagree with the likes of Harris and biologist Jerry Coyne. But what signal is sent by a refusal to permit the issues to be even debated?