On September 11th, the American Embassy to Egypt in Cairo released a statement objecting to content that might hurt the feelings of Muslims.
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
“Respect for religious beliefs” is not a cornerstone of American democracy – the right of a religion to worship freely is. A true fundamental principle of the American way-of-life is freedom of speech. While a religion is free to practice as it wishes, as long is its practices do not infringe the rights of others, it is also the right of others to speak out against those practices they find disagreement with.
The Cairo embassy statement is in direct conflict with American values, but firmly in line with the apologetic line of the Obama administration.
Even the President’s own first statement on the Libyan embassy attack included an apology first and condemnation later as Obama said, “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
It is perfectly acceptable for a free people to condemn the practices they see as wrong. Having the President and his State department defend one religion at the cost of free speech is weak and disrespectful of what makes America great.
If we may only say things that will never offend anyone, we will likely never say or do anything important or principled.