Dissent Of The Day

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A reader writes:

I see that you have put up a link to Bill Maher's HBO program without acknowledging the virulent and bigoted anti-Muslim comments he made - comments that put the controversial words of Juan Williams into the category of benign. Why no criticism of Maher's comments, at least equal to the overblown remarks that you made about those of Williams? I gather it is safe to assume that you will continue to appear on Maher's program.

I missed that, but upon viewing it, it appears that Maher made a stupid, and bigoted generalization about English babies being called Mohammed leading to some inevitable future of Sharia law - an unproven fantasy nicely smacked down by Reihan. The obvious logical problem: why wouldn't second or third generation British Mohammeds turn out as atheists? Or stoners? Or agnostics like the rest of them?

Should HBO fire him for being mean about a religion?

Well, that's their choice not mine, as with NPR. But if it was only one religion, and if it wasn't related to any actual fact (like, the notion that people in traditional Muslim garb have a record of blowing up airplanes), and if it wasn't a comedy show, HBO might have to ponder a little. But opposing Sharia law is not the same as assuming that every devout Muslim might be a terrorist; and everyone knows that Maher's just as vicious about Catholics and Jews and Buddhists and anyone with a religious mindset. So it's not prejudice against a specific religion for him, but for all of them. It's anti-faith; not anti-Muslim as such. And it's not directed at adult fellow citizens as if they were all guilty of mass murder until proven innocent.

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