Doonesbury Creator Garry Trudeau Again Attacks Anti-Islam Cartoons, Instead of Those Who Murder Over Them

When, last Friday, Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau received the George Polk Career Award, he took the occasion to attack Charlie Hebdo and its Mohammed cartoons.

It wasn’t new territory for him. After the violence over the 2005 Danish Mohammed cartoons broke out, Trudeau, disappointingly, pronounced his solidarity with, or at least his patient understanding of, the rioters. He rejected cartoons that are critical of Islam, he explained at the time, because he saw making a statement about freedom of speech by drawing even the mildest representation of Islam’s prophet as a useless, empty gesture.

“What exactly would that statement be?” he rhetorically asked an interviewer of the Santa Barbara Independent.

That we can say whatever we want in the West? Everyone already knows that. So then the question becomes, should we say whatever we want? That, to me, is the crux. Do you hurt people just because you can? Because you feel they shouldn’t be deeply hurt, does that mean they aren’t? Should the New York Times run vicious caricatures of blacks and Jews just to show the First Amendment in action? At some point, common sense and sensitivity have to be brought to bear.

Huh. We can “say whatever we want” in Western democracies, Trudeau claims; “Everyone already knows that.” I guess that excludes Theo van Gogh and Lars Vilks and Salman Rushdie and Stéphane Charbonnier, among other artists. After all, their right to speak their minds has been partially or entirely abrogated either by their actual murders (van Gogh and Charbonnier), or by ongoing attempts on their lives (Rushdie, Vilks).



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How Amy Schumer Survived a Haunted Hotel

As comedian Amy Schumer‘s latest adventure demonstrates, not since The Shining has a hotel exuded such dark, supernatural mystery.



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Even the Devil’s “Spiritual Warfare” Could Not Derail My Family’s Third Adoption

I’ve written almost nothing for Friendly Atheist for the better part of three weeks. It wasn’t entirely by choice: Where I had traveled, in China, Internet access was spotty, and when connections were stable and speeds were decent, sites that Hemant and I frequently rely on for our coverage were blocked or hamstrung by the Chinese authorities — from Google to YouTube, and from the New York Times to Facebook.

Why was I in China? Because 15 months ago my wife and I became aware of a Chinese girl who needed a family. We’d adopted twice before, and this child’s special need — an eye defect — was identical to that of our first adoptive daughter, so the four of us felt well-qualified to welcome the little one into our family and deal with the issue.

In late March, after more than a year’s worth of paperwork and nail-biting, my wife and our two daughters traveled to meet our third daughter and sibling. Her name is Mei-Mei. She’s five. After she was born, Mei-Mei spent eight months in a hospital, and all her ensuing years in an orphanage. But she’s home with us now, and things are looking up.



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Christian Conservatives Withhold $5 to $6 Million From Some of the World’s Poorest Kids Because of Gay Marriage

New insight into the World Vision debacle that occurred a year ago this week suggests that conservative Christians were so peeved over the charity organization’s decision to no longer consider gay people unhirable, that thousands of the poorest children in the world lost more than five million dollars in donations. That amount could be almost twice as high as previously thought, writes Patheos blogger Ben Corey.

World Vision is a Christian charity that matches Western sponsors and third-world children. The organization says it does not promote Christianity outright as part of its core mission, but concedes that Christian principles are often transferred through the relationships that its workers build with poor communities abroad.

Last year’s fiasco left all parties disenfranchised, because after an outcry by conservative Christian members, World Vision caved, reneging on its promise within days by deciding to keep discriminating against gay applicants. So everyone lost — but none lost more than the children whom this was all supposed to be about.



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Germany’s IRS Says Soccer Player Luca Toni Owes $1.85 Million In Back Taxes Because He’s a Catholic

An Italian soccer player who starred on the world-renowned German Bayern Munich team for three seasons owes $1.85 million in back taxes, German authorities allege — because he was baptized a Catholic.

Hellas Verona star Luca Toni could be forced to pay €1.7m [$1.85 million] to the German Catholic Church for failing to pay a religious tax.

According to Sport Mediaset, Toni will go to trial in Munich for the outstanding sum accrued while he was playing for Bayern from 2007 to 2010.

The Kirchensteuer [church tax] rule finances religions via taxes in Germany, which in Bavaria is eight per cent of [people's] income.



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