Did Obama just deal another blow to Free Speech? *UPDATED*

Obama made a statement today.  Here is the official transcript of what he said (emphasis mine):

I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.

I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. 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.

On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.

The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.

What does that emphasized language mean?  “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”?  Doesn’t that sound as if Obama is saying that it’s official U.S. policy to stifle religious criticism?    I know of no such policy.  Obama should have been celebrating free speech and talking about the fact that, no matter how unpleasant it is, it is the essence of freedom. Instead, he says that the United States rejects free speech that speaks negatively of religion.

Keep in mind as you think about Obama’s words that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has been trying for years to push through the U.N. a resolution that would make denigrating a religion a criminal offense.  Just recently, the Obama Administration refused to state categorically that America will never support such an initiative.  And why should it?  Just a little while a, our President, speaking to an international audience, said that the United States rejects denigrating religion.

No.  No.  No.  The whole point of the First Amendment is that the government stays out of controlling religion and that the American people are free to speak about religion and all sorts of other things without fear of their government.

UPDATE:  The above quotation is from the prepared transcript of Obama’s statements.  When he made his actual statement, he expanded upon the prepared text, but kept exactly the same language about speech (emphasis mine):

we’re working with the government of libya to secure our diplomats. i’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world. and make no mistake, we will work with the libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people. since our founding, the united states has been a nation that respects all faiths. we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, but there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence, none. the world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts. already, many libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the united states and libya. libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside americans. libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried ambassador stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.

Obama also added some inchoate thoughts that indicate his usual moral equivalence, along the lines of “they’re more to be pitied than censured,” because they can’t help themselves:

but we also know that the lives these americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. these four americans stood up for freedom and human dignity.

And their attackers’ lives stand for radical Islam?  Their attackers’ lives stand for the usual Progressive tropes about poverty?  What does that mean?  He’s clearly implying that the attackers couldn’t help themselves, but he fails to say why.


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  • JKB
  • MacG

    The language that you question is diplomatic for “The views expressed in that video about Mohammed are not the views of the United States Political machine.  We would never say, submerge a statue of Mohammed in a vat of urine or smear feces all over his mother’s image.”

    Of course we all know that stateside however we do actually fund religious mockery on the Federal level with ‘art’ such as “Piss Christ” and smearing of dung all over the Mother Mary.  

    Why should ‘they’ believe it?

  • MacG

    “Of course we all know that stateside however we do actually fund religious mockery on the Federal level with ‘art’ such as “Piss Christ” and smearing of dung all over the Mother Mary.”

    PS:  And yet the intolerant Christians have yet to burn down the house…

    God have mercy, Christ have mercy. 

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  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Is the President simply ignorant of the truth….?  Or is he lying to us?
    “libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried ambassador stevens’s body to the hospital”
    The Libyans removed the staff to a “safe place”, but recent reports are that they then informed the radicals where the infidels were located. 
    And photographs of the mob “carr(ying) ambassador stevens’s body to the hospital” show the half-naked body over the shoulder of someone closely surrounded by a lot of others who look quite as Islamist as the “rescuer”. 
    The President’s statement is simply not credible…..but I’m sure he figures that the Legacy Media is going to cover for him in this, as in so much else.

  • Oldflyer

    He is insulting us.  
    He meant to say that certain religions cannot be insulted.  Other religions–perfectly ok.
    One of the diplomats expressed concern in an on-line message to a friend about security forces photographing the Consulate hours before the attack.  He speculated that they might not survive the night?  Joke?  If so an eerily prescient one.  But, was there no one to ask for help in “friendly” Libya?
    Now the Libyan government is blaming Gaddafi forces.  Remember Hillary joking about killing Gaddafi?  Will the MSM change the tune and blame Hillary instead of people who made a film over a year ago, that was shown once in the U.S.?  I am kidding.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl


    Muslim logic
    September 12, 2012 – 7:41 am – by Roger Kimball

    An Israeli filmmaker living in America makes a 13 minute, cartoonish video making fun of Mohammed, ergo Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, is murdered, along with three other diplomats, in Benghazi and Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, issues an “angry denunciation”:
                             If P, then Q
    If you make fun of P (the Prophet!) then Q, the fruiter bits of the Q’ran take over, and mayhem, murder, arson ensue, and “leaders” right out of Evelyn Waugh’s Black Mischief  get their turbans in a twist.
    Question: why do civilized nations put up with this barbaric and homicidal nonsense?

  • MacG

    Earl how many times have I heard as an argument against spanking or the other extreme capital punishment that “You can’t teach non violence with violence”  or  “You cannot teach the value of life by executing someone”  It used to work, why not now?