D’Souza Versus Rights

Dinesh D’Souza is a cheerleader for religion, and most any religion will do. His favored religion is Christianity, but short of that, he prefers a religious orientation to a secular one. In a recent article, he continues to find common cause with the Blame America First crowd of the radical left, discussing Islamist terrorism not in the context of problems within modern Islam that cause such terrorism, but in the context of alleged American failures.

D’Souza claims that Americans who advocate “the right to blaspheme, the complete exclusion of religious symbols from the public square, the right of teenage boys and girls to receive sex education and contraceptives, the right to abortion, prostitution as a worker’s right, pornography as a protected form of expression, gay rights and gay marriage, and so on… are producing a powerful ‘blowback’ from the House of Islam.”

The first thing to notice is that American domestic politics are hardly the legitimate concern of non-American Muslims. I agree with D’Souza that Islamists hate America for its freedoms, but D’Souza is wrong to suggest that any part of the fault lies with America. Certainly we should not alter our domestic policies in a shortsighted attempt to prevent “blowback” from Islamist terrorists.

D’Souza, in criticizing leftists, also packages items that do not fit together logically. I think that people have the right to blaspheme. Women have the right to get an abortion. Consenting adults have the right to trade sex for money (as I’ve argued,) produce and view pornography, engage in homosexuality, and partner romantically with whom they choose. I do not advocate “the complete exclusion of religious symbols from the public square,” but neither do I think that Christian symbols should dominate that square. I think that non-abusive parents have the right to raise their children and to set policies concerning sex education and contraceptives.

What is the alternative to the liberties that I endorse? To blaspheme means “to speak impiously or irreverently of (God or sacred things).” For example, the phrases “God damn it” and “God does not exist” are blasphemous. The alternative to the right to blaspheme is the imposition of legal penalties for blasphemy; for example, some Americans call for the death penalty for blasphemers. The alternative to the right to abortion is the imposition of legal penalties on doctors and women involved with abortion. The alternative to legal prostitution is today’s hypocritical prohibition that fosters violence and disease. (However, most American “liberals” do not favor legal prostitution, as D’Souza suggests.) The alternative to legal pornography is censorship. While calls for censorship are in vogue among both the left and the right, they are incompatible with freedom of speech. The alternatives to gay rights and gay unions are legal penalties for homosexuality (in the “House of Islam” homosexuals often are killed) and discriminatory contract law.

In a future article, perhaps D’Souza can explain precisely what legal penalties he believes Americans should adopt against blasphemy, abortion, pornography, and homosexuality. Otherwise, perhaps he can explain why he thinks some such liberties deserve legal protections while others don’t.

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