Another shoutout to one of the best animated shows around; this times, it seems that their fight for first amendment rights has been fruitful. The founder of the ‘Revolution Muslim’ website had most recently become infamous for implying death for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park who dared to show Muhammad in an episode of the show (alongside Jesus, Moses, Krisha, and several other religious icons). This was offensive to Muslims, for whom it is verboten to depict the prophet in any manner. Parker and Stone, quasi-liberterians who are major advocates of free speech, balked at network restrictions and decided to show Muhammad inside a U-Haul van and a bear costume to poke fun at the double standard applied to Islamic sensibilities. Death threats and controversy continued, but it seems the Federales were paying attention too. The 21-year-old Chesser apparently helped out a terrorist organization, in addition to other charges. Via the Hollywood Reporter:
“Zachary Chesser will spend 25 years in prison for advocating the murder of U.S. citizens for engaging in free speech about his religion,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said Thursday. “His actions caused people throughout the country to fear speaking out — even in jest — to avoid being labeled as enemies who deserved to be killed.”
Full story over at Ain’t it Cool. In many ways, this is a continuation of the Danish Cartoon controversy and the discussion over the ‘right’ not to be offended. As a Christian, of course, I realized long ago my own beliefs are fair game and, moreover, that I need to laugh at myself. One of the things I most respect about South Park, for instance, is their insistence on making fun of everyone. We should all be able to laugh at ourselves; there is no reason this cannot coexist alongside a serious faith commitment. Kudos to prosecutors for insuring that the bullies don’t get their way.