Can doesn't imply ought, but tit might imply tat - Macleans.ca

Can doesn’t imply ought, but tit might imply tat

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Angela Merkel has weighed in on the Islamophobia sweeping the US right now. Short version — Koran burning is wrong, but Mohammed cartoons are ok. I pretty much agree with that, though one thing she said struck me, in her defence of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard:

“It is about whether or not he can publish his cartoons, yes or no,” said Merkel. “Whether they are necessary or helpful or tasteful or not doesn’t matter. Is he allowed to do it? Yes, he is.”

It’s maybe worth pointing out that this is the exact same argument that some muslims have made in defence of the “ground zero” mosque.  American law gives them the right to do it, end of story. In response to which, conservatives have responded with that obnoxious line that was being passed around: “That we allow them to build the mosque says a lot about us; that they’ll build it says a lot about them.”

Again, muslims said pretty much the exact same same thing back when the Danish cartoons were published. It went something like: “Just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should, especially if it causes great offence.” It shouldn’t surprise anyone to find muslims shoving that argument back in the face of the people who told them to get stuffed in 2005.

As always, the best-case solution to all of this would be for people to just stop believing in God. Religious intolerance is the proximate cause of the strife, but religious belief is the ultimate source of the problem. As Richard Dawkins likes to point out, religious people shouldn’t find atheism all that difficult. After all, every believer already doesn’t believe in a great many gods — the trick is to just go “one god more” and stop believing in the one god you’ve settled on.

But that’s not going to happen. The second-best solution would be for everyone to exercise a bit of religious toleration.

But that’s not going to happen either. So what to do? I think it is incumbent on all Christian groups, this Saturday, to burn a big stack of Bibles. In such heated times, a show of solidarity amongst all of Abraham’s children would go a long way.

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