The Texas Shooting Is Not The Same As The Charlie Hebdo Massacre

islam texas shootingHave you ever noticed that conservatives love to talk about their rights under the Constitution being infringed? Just go to any of their websites and they will talk about how liberals and President Obama are trying to take away their First and Second Amendment rights until they’re blue in the face from typing out caps-locked diatribes about Sharia law, gays, FEMA camps and Common Core.

Granted, most of them seem to only care about those two amendments and not any of the others, nor the Constitution itself – and only because they allow them to do stupid things like trying to antagonize Muslims or intimidate groups like Moms Demand Action by carrying assault rifles outside their meetings.

That isn’t to say that liberals aren’t capable of being incredibly hypocritical when it comes to their own interpretations of personal rights, but by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, people like Pamela Geller and others of her ilk have a false persecution complex a mile long.

One of the biggest problems with their flawed understanding of the Bill of Rights is the belief that their rights, specifically under the First and Second Amendments, are unlimited and trump that of everyone else – and by everyone else, I mean people who aren’t white, heterosexual Christians and possibly Jews.

Granted, they were within their rights to have a “Draw Muhammad” contest and announce winners while they denounced Islam, but the comparisons some have made to their event and the subsequent Texas shooting with the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo are wrong.

The event, which featured Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders as its keynote speaker, was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an organization with the stated objective of combating “capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism” amid all levels of government and the mainstream media. The AFDI is led by president Pamela Geller and vice president Robert Spencer, who’ve been at the forefront of the anti-Islamic fringe for years, and the group has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Anti-Defamation League also noted that Geller and Spencer’s secondary anti-Islam group, Stop Islamization of America, seeks to “rouse public fears about a vast Islamic conspiracy to destroy American values.” (Source)

The difference between AFDI and Charlie Hebdo is that Charlie Hebdo has made it a point to ridicule all religions, not just Islam. AFDI has specifically targeted Islam and the violent response to their convention, while utterly uncalled for, shouldn’t have been a surprise given how Islamic radicals act when it comes to Muhammad.

Here in the United States, especially since the events of 9/11, right-wing politicians and pundits have made it a part of their message to point to the “creeping threat of Islam” in order to play to the paranoia of those who lament what they see as the end of America as they know it. Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons were meant as satire of a number of religions, including Islam, but AFDI decided to specifically target and single out Muslims as part of their right-wing agenda. Charlie Hebdo lampooned everyone in the name of free speech; AFDI acted in order to further their own anti-Muslim, radical Christian cause, and sparked the Texas shooting which fortunately ended in the deaths of the gunmen alone.

There’s a big difference between making fun of all religions, and going after one in particular. Individuals like Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Geert Wilders aren’t trying to provoke a greater conversation about religious extremism in general. They’re promoting a greater narrative espoused by radical conservatives here in the United States that only Christianity (and their version of it) is the one true and peaceful religion – and even blowhard Donald Trump had a moment of honesty in recognizing it.

While extremists in all religions may hate each other, they have more in common than they would like to believe. If Christians want Muslims to denounce their fringe elements, then Christians should also call out bigots such as Pamela Geller and the politicians like Michele Bachmann or Ted Cruz who pay lip service to their unhinged beliefs. Or we could just confine all of them – Islamic radicals and Christian extremists alike – to a remote island in the Pacific Ocean and watch the fireworks on reality TV from a safe distance. That would also work for me.


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