This first appeared in The Havok Journal on May 18, 2015.
If you’re on this website, you’re an informed enough citizen to already know the details of the Mohammad cartoon contest a few weeks ago in Garland, Texas. And you’re aware that politicians, the mainstream media, and most respected pundits left and right took the high-noble position that Pamela Geller was the bully antagonist who broke the bounds of proper, respectful First Amendment free speech by crudely and deliberately insulting Islam simply by holding the contest.
The generally accepted collective wisdom is that criticizing Islam is taboo. It also has this corollary: no serious scholarly discussion of Islam is allowed either. The final take-away is this: no satirical mocking of Islam should be accepted or repeated.
The established principle here is that if you act negatively upon any of the above, regardless of the First Amendment, you bring justified, violent jihadist reprisals upon yourself and shall get neither our protection nor our sympathy.
The high moral commandment is offending religion—at least the “wrong” religion—is wrong, and that’s where the moral posturing ends. Always left unstated is the underlying reason for the moralists’ high stance: Fear.
Left unacknowledged is their own defining character trait: Cowardice.
You haven’t and won’t hear anything about that fear and cowardice from those who condemn Pamela Geller’s decision to exercise her right to free speech. These preening priests of religious correctness never mention their closeted terror that they themselves could be the next bloody, bullet-riddled or decapitated bodies on the floor of their newsroom cathedrals.
Remember, it’s the high moral commandment that they preach: offending religion is wrong. The offense is to be condemned, as they have been fast to do with Geller’s “Draw Mohammed” contest.
Except, these same high-moralists do not condemn the outspoken crude religious-offense mongers Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In fact, they do the exact opposite; they bestow upon them praise, adulation, and awards for their magnum opus of satirical criticism of religion.
Who are Trey Parker and Matt Stone? They’re the brilliant artists (both words are subject to debate, and neither implies honor or bravery) who created South Park and the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon.
Have you heard one of the same moralists who have condemned Pamela Geller for her attacks on Islam call out Parker and Stone for their stage musical, which is a grand insult to the Church of the Latter Day Saints? Have you heard one of them demand that Parker and Stone shut down this million-dollar hit musical? Have you heard one of them make the case that Americans should boycott the musical and extend the boycott to the equally religiously offensive South Park? Have they been threatened with death if they do not comply?
Did I mention The Book of Mormon has won Tony Awards? Nine of them.
Were I a Mormon, I’d be downright angry. Who are these snot-nosed Hollywood secularist punks to laugh at and offend my religion? What makes them any different than Pammy Geller? Who are they to mock my Prophet Joseph Smith and his peaceful and humane white-shirt-and-black-tie-attired missionary disciples?
Were I a Mormon, I’d challenge artistic groundbreakers Parker and Stone (and their Hollywood compatriots-in-arms) to create a hit musical The Book of Koran. Or, simpler, name it The Book of Muslim. (Mormon, Muslim, both starting with an M, two syllables each, that’s poetic alliteration.)
Shoot, if you ask me, isn’t a religion of Islam’s fierce tenets of anti-homosexuality and total subservience of women just brimming overripe for satire—for a bellyful of laughs and infectious high-stepping show tunes?
Lights! Curtains! Orchestra! Can’t you hear it now? I’m gonna wash that gay right out of my hair/And send him on his way/I’m gonna ride that gay right off of my range/Rub him out and rinse him down the drain.
Or, better still, to Oklahoma, sing it strong, Preeeee-pubescent, Where the bride is under ten/And she and another together tonight smellin’ so sweet/Preeeee-pubescent, Ev’ry night I debauch a new one/Preeeee-pubescent, ain’t nuthin’ like a preeeee-pubescent!
How long do you think that musical would run on Broadway? Do you even think it would open? What would be the fallout if it did?
There is not a chance that “The Book of Muslim” would even be written. Not by Parker and Stone, and not by anyone in the arts—stage, film, or literary. Nor would it be backed by the snooty patrons who pay hundreds of dollars for their The Book of Mormon tickets. And if you research “South Park Mohammed Controversy,” you’ll see why.
Were I a Mormon and wanted to put an end to the offensive The Book of Mormon playing to packed houses every night, I’d put two and two together and round up a couple-dozen fellow retired Green Berets and SEALs and Rangers (Mormon “extremists” all, to be sure) and do an explosive jihadist thing upon a single night’s Broadway performance. Cast, crew, patrons and all, it doesn’t matter, there are no innocent victims, they’re all willing and happy participants in offending a sacred religion and a much-loved prophet (though he is only a Smith brother, though not of the cough-drop variety*).
Yeah, the Parkers and Stones and the pundits who condemn Pamela Geller’s “Draw Mohammed” would be all up in arms and holding high their JE SUIS BOOK OF MORMON signs for a week or two, but then a few strategically placed blood-splattering hits on them, and the message would be clear: No more curtain rising. Nothing left but a darkened, deathly-quiet theater.
Fortunately, I’m not a Mormon, nor do we have to wonder what the Mormon reaction would be to someone publicly—and repeatedly—mocking their religion. You make fun of Mormons, and you can expect a group of them to buy ad space in your playbill. You mock Muslims, and you can expect a group of them to pull out AK-47s and try to murder people. Tell me, which of the two groups is more worthy of ridicule?
Two plus two is the same in any religion. Insult + Death = Fear (among the living). Or is it?
It could also be Threat + Fear = Silence (among the living). Or, it can be, among the cowardly. We seem to have an overabundance of those these days.
Obviously, I’m not silent. And as I said, I’m not Mormon. Otherwise, who knows, I may be so offended as to be compelled to leap over the footlights, scimitar waving in hand, and yell with all my lungs, “Onward, Mormon soldiers!”
As an American, I am disturbed to realize that it would work.
(*Sorry, LDSers, but I just couldn’t resist the little play-on-words jab. Which I include proving that I’m not Mormon to the FBI and Homeland Security guys who might not understand sarcasm and absurd written parody.)
Paul Avallone spent three-plus years in Afghanistan as a Green Beret then an embedded civilian journalist. His epic, politically defiant novel of the Afghan War, Tattoo Zoo, was published in December.