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The Rushdie Fatwa and ‘Religion vs. Free Speech’

“Cut off the head of Salman Rushdie!” chanted a crowd of Islamists in Pakistan yesterday as calls to murder the “blasphemer” were renewed following his knighthood in Britain.

Such barbarism is to be expected from religionists—not just from Muslims, but from any religionists who are neither restrained by a rights-respecting constitution (as they are to some extent in America) nor terrified by a demonstration of the superiority of rational man over their fictional God.

Both the Old and the New Testaments call explicitly for the slaughter of those who blaspheme, but in America Jews and Christians are constitutionally forbidden to obey their holy books in full, so they refrain, and we can (for now) say what we want about their God who is not. (Thank the Founders for what’s left of the Constitution.)

Last year, in the wake of the Cartoon Jihad, I wrote an article for TOS titled “Religion vs. Free Speech,” and given the relevance of the essay to the unfortunately refreshed fatwa on Rushdie, I’ve decided to make it accessible to all. Here’s the link.

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