Is It Ever Okay to Offend an Entire Faith (Islam)?

Golden Rule behavior demands that we treat others as we would want to be treated given understanding of that individual’s circumstances.

Knowing that the Islamic faith prohibits depictions of its prophet Muhammad, is there ever an acceptable reason to produce and distribute cartoons about and including drawings of Muhammad?

Just after a $10,000 prize was handed out in Garland, Texas yesterday to the best caricature of Muhammad, two Muslim men attempted to shoot their way through the conference. Their assault began just moments after they were believed to have tweeted, “May Allah accept us as mujahideen” and stating their loyalty to the Islamic State. A police officer used his service pistol to kill the assault-rifle-armed attackers before they could inflict substantial harm.

In the immediate hours following the shooting, many media commentators questioned whether conference organizers had brought the attack on themselves. Given this reaction, is it ever acceptable to purposely offend? Following are seven questions worth considering in determining your answer:

  1. Was the offensive behavior—the caricature and condemnation of Muhammad—solely intended to offend, or was it pursued to achieve a higher purpose?
  1. If a higher purpose—or at least a serious purpose other than creating offense—was intended, could another method achieve that purpose without the offensive action?

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Mental Health With No Stigmas

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Today is the start of Mental Health Awareness Month. With that in mind, I wrote the following for NoStigmas.org on why I talk publicly about my battles with depression. You can find this on their web site as well. Difficulties and tragedies would … [Continue reading]

Two Joints. 13 Years. Golden Rule?

Found with two marijuana joints in 2010, now 48-year-old truck driver and father of seven Bernard Noble wound his way through Louisiana's judicial system until its Supreme Court increased his three-time-loser sentence to 13 years and four months of … [Continue reading]

Golden Rule & Government Workshop

Inspiring weekend in Champaign, Illinois leading a workshop on whether the Golden Rule should be applied to government and taking part in other sessions at Illinois Interfaith Conference 2015, as well as serving as a mentor for a University of … [Continue reading]

If Life Brings Lemons, Create a Fun Calendar

Mike is in the blue shirt, second from the right. Paula is leaning forward in front.

Even 18 months later, a tear wells up as Mike Pisarcik mentions his little girl settling too far away to reach quickly. For Mike and his wife Paula, the summer of 2013 brought dramatic change. Their son married, locating 40 miles away in downtown … [Continue reading]

Understanding Islam and Charlie Hebdo

As I studied Islam over the past two years, trying to understand the dichotomy between my personal experience with peaceful, thoughtful Muslims and the brutal, hateful violence pursued by radical Islamist terrorists, I learned why silent acquiescence … [Continue reading]

Trilogy Complete: Doing Unto Others

Front cover for Doing Unto Others: The Golden Rule Revolution

Interested in challenging your thinking while reading compelling stories of atonement, recovery, retribution and inspirational leadership? After decades of increasing division, America embraces a path toward unity behind the sole principle common to … [Continue reading]

Six Actions We Can Each Take to Build Unity

As a four-year-old in 1968, I sent my mother into sheer panic at a local McDonald’s when I loudly asked the large man next to her why he only washed the inside of his hands. Amidst the race riots of that tumultuous year, the African American … [Continue reading]

With Family Afar, Thankful for An Unlikely Friendship

Jim Bowen with Aunt Annette

From a distance, the 350 pounds Jim Bowen packs into his thick, muscular frame appear menacing. A shaved skull and elongated Van Dyke beard edged with the first trimmings of grey only add to the suggestion that he must be a bouncer at an edgy Daytona … [Continue reading]

When Pasties Appear on Guys’ Weekend

Launching over Volkswagen Rock in Piers Gorge with best friends Dave Steel (front left), me (front right), Mike Collins (middle right) and guide Forrest Smith on the Wild Ride.

Staring at the pasties we caressed in our hands, we weren't sure what to do next. Do we envelop them in our mouths, wrapping our lips as far around as possible? Is it better to nibble at the edge while maintaining a firm handhold? For the rest … [Continue reading]