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September 12th, 2012
03:11 PM ET

Reaction to anti-Islam film fuels debate on free speech versus hate speech

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The deaths of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans amid protests against a film that denigrates Islam has sparked global discussion and debate  about whether there is a line between free speech and hate speech and, if so, where it lies.

“They don’t regard perceived insults to the Prophet Mohammed or the Quran as being protected by free speech, they regard it as a capital offense,” says Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst, referring to protesters in Libya and Egypt, where the U.S. Embassy was attacked, who were angered by the film.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the movie was made by a real estate developer who wanted to portray Islam as a hateful religion.  The attack on the U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya, was orchestrated by extremists who used the protests as a diversion, U.S. sources told CNN Wednesday.

“In some of these cases, the people releasing these films or cartoons are trying to make a statement about free speech, which is fair enough,” says Bergen, referring to the film and other provocative recent depictions of Mohammed, Islam’s founding prophet.

"But in some cases they are deliberately trying to provoke," Bergen says. "The film that is at issue is certainly very provocative, the way it treats the Prophet Mohammed, and people who release these things are being very irresponsible."

Read: Why Muslims are sensitive on Mohammed

Newt Gingrich told CNN Wednesday that the United States should seize on the violence spurred by the film “to teach the Muslim world about freedom,” specifically about freedom of speech.

His remarks, echoed by other conservatives on Wednesday, signaled something of a divide in reaction to developments in Libya and Egypt between the political right, which stressed freedom of speech, and the left, which added condemnation of those behind the anti-Muslim film.

"The horrific attacks in Libya & Egypt are a stark contrast to our American ideals of free speech, civil disagreement," wrote Todd Rokita, a Republican U.S. congressman who is from Indiana, on Twitter.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Gingrich, the former presidential candidate and speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said that after the attacks, “We had an opportunity to stand up and say, ‘You know, it is true - some people in the United States might make a film that is totally whacked out.’”

“Sooner or later, we in the modern world have to say to those who are living in a different way, ‘Look, we stand for freedom,’” he said.

Gingrich criticized statements from the U.S. government that he said went too far in condemning and apologizing for the anti-Muslim film.

In a statement on Tuesday morning - before the violence - the U.S. Embassy in Egypt wrote that it "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."

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"Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy," the statement continued. "We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

Some U.S. officials spoke to the tension between U.S. support for free speech and what some have described as the film’s “hate speech,” in reacting to the attacks.

"The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

"Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation,” she said. “But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."

Some other political and religious leaders also cited the tension between free speech and what they said was hate speech. "I support #freespeech AND believe this film is hateful," tweeted Eboo Patel, an American Muslim leader based in Chicago. "I stand up for #Islam AND condemn violence of extremist Muslims #fb #responsibility."

Others joined in venting disapproval of both the film and the attacks. "For the record, you can condemn violence in response to hate speech, and you can also condemn hate speech," wrote Jeff Fecke on Twitter. "You don't have to support either."

Some American Muslims said Wednesday that while they support the right of free speech, they believe that the U.S. applies its values selectively in the Muslim world, especially when it comes to military and intelligence operations.

“Freedom of speech falls alongside other freedoms to live and be free from bombs falling on people’s heads and to be free from occupations,” says Omid Safi, religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina, referring to American military and intelligence operations in parts of the Muslim world.

“I will take free speech comments seriously when others take people’s freedom of life and dignity and to be free from occupation just as seriously,” he said.

What do you think? Share your thoughts on the discussion around free speech and hate speech and we'll fold good ones into this post.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Violence

soundoff (1,088 Responses)
  1. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make your think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 13, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • n

      tell me again how China is doing in terms of human rights. They are an atheistic country.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Soledad

      Pompeii was an extremely sxauelly permissive society, much more than most cultures are today. The Quran specifically talks about how God dealt out his punishments on societies that chose to disobey him. It's not surprising for Muslims to say that the eruption was a form of the wrath of God.I don't think it's fair to laugh the video off as propaganda. People believe what they believe, man;a0 if you're a Muslim, it could make perfect sense to you. If you're not, oh well.And may I say, Islam is not the only reason that believes in divine retribution.

      November 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  2. nour

    efffff........ why is there so much hate. This is not the world i'd like to live in. I had so many great expectations of life when I was young and now..I realize the world is dirty and filled with hate.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Scott E

      Yeah, I was about 7 or so when I came to that conclusion. Crazy haters are everywhere. We need to put them into treatment.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  3. Natalie Rose

    DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM

    A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine that America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves..
    Pause a moment, reflect: These events are actual events from history..
    They really happened!!!
    Do you remember? Gee...I didn't know this...did you???
    1. On 6 June 1968, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by a DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    2. On 5 September 1972 at the Munich Olympics, 11 athletes were kidnapped and brutally massacred by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    3. On 4 November 1979, the US Embassy in Iran was taken over and 66 Hostages were held captive for 444 Days by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    4. During the 1980's scores of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    5. On 18 April 1983 the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was bombed by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    6. On 23 October 1983 the U.S. Marine Corps. Barracks were blown up and destroyed, killing 241 Marines by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    7. On 12 December 1983 the U.S. Embassy was bombed by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!.
    8. On 7 October 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    9. On 14 June 1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens and a US Navy Diver (Robert Dean Stethem) while trying to rescue passengers was tortured and murdered by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    10. On 21 December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed, killing 259 people on board and 11 on the ground by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    11. On 26 February 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed for the “FIRST” time, killing 6 and injuring 1,042 by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    12. On 7 August 1998, the US Embassy in Kenya was bombed Killing 212 and injuring over 4000 by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS OF ISLAM!
    13. On 7 August 1998, the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania was bombed, killing 11 and injuring 85 by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS OF ISLAM!
    14. On 12 October 2000, the U.S.S. Cole was blown up killing 17 US Sailors by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    15. On 11 September 2001, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take down the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers killing over 3000 Americans by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS OF ISLAM.
    16. In 2001, the United States began combat operations in Afghanistan with 1,935 dead and 17,025 wounded against DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!.
    17.On 23 January 2002, reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and BEHEADED by DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWERS of ISLAM!
    18. On 5 November 2009, Major Nidal Hasan, a DEVOUT MUSLIM FOLLOWER OF ISLAM killed 13 and wounded another 32 AMERICANS in a Massacre at Fort Hood Texas!
    19. On 9 August 2012, an United States Soldier, Army Pfc. Naser Jason, a MUSLIM and DEVOUT FOLLOWER OF ISLAM, was convicted of collecting bomb-making materials for what he told authorities would be a "massive attack" on a Texas restaurant full of AMERICAN SOLDIERS was sentenced Friday to life in prison.

    And now we can add the attacks on our Embassy's and the Death of our Ambassador !

    September 13, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    If there is one thing about the US of which I am jealous as a Canadian, it is freedom of speech.
    In Canada, we are subject to the tender mercies of the Human Rights Commision.
    Any statement that can possibly be construed as inciting hatred against an identifiable group is subject to censorship and the speaker/writer to prosecution by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
    The HRC is a kangaroo court where the truth of a statement is not a valid defense!
    Needless to say, they have a 100% conviction rate.

    "You have the right to free speech. So long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it."
    – Joe Strummer

    September 13, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • CW

      Thanks for chiming in. This is the slippery slope many of us don't want to fall down in America.

      September 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  5. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    Announcing "I am offended" is basically thelling the world you can’t control your emotions and you want others to do it for you.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  6. AvdBerg

    The Ambassador’s killing in Libya was a culmination of the rising tensions and deep-rooted hatred amongst civilizations in a divided world (Matthew 12:25,26). For a better understanding of the history of Islam and the Middle East we invite you to read the articles ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’, ‘Clash of Civilizations’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I agree that your bible is all about deception.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  7. GT Canada

    Hmmm, an Israeli living in the United states decides to stir the pot with Islam. Americans die because of his actions but he's allowed to hide behind the Freedom of Speech curtain not to mention hiding out physically. They ought to put a picture of Sam Bacile in Wikipedia under coward. I guess that's just the bravery of being out of range.

    September 13, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • therealhawkman

      I am going to report you to the Canadian Human Rights Commission as you have offended me greatly by your disrespect of my freedom of speech......here in America. Same thing as Muslims rioting and killing because someone not of the Muslim faith says of does something they don't like. I sure am glad I am an American and live in the US. Don't like your feelings hurt? Find a desert island and live there.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  8. gini

    I too am "insulted" that 3000 of our people were murdered on 911 in the name of the muslim religion!!! How about that?

    September 13, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • tallulah13

      I'm concerned that we have a military that is on it's last legs after fighting two long, fruitless wars. I'm concerned (and angry) that some idiot sitting safe at home did his damnedest to foment more bloodshed. I'm concerned (and angry) that people like you are still screaming for blood after 10 years of conflict - just as long as it's not your own blood. How about we sit back and look for solutions before we start lobbing bombs and endangering even more American lives?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  9. tallulah13

    Free speech is a right in America. It's not in Libya or Egypt. The best way to get fundamentals to open their minds is to educate them, but there is nothing to be gained from agitation. The person who made that film was simply throwing rocks at a hornets nest, and while he stayed safe, the people close to the nest got stung.

    The film was an act of cowardice, one that is protected by the Consti.tution, but cowardly none the less.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • CqRichard

      There is still the principle that we do not have the right to incite riot, or yell FIRE in a crowded theatre. As much as we disagree with these people's sensitives towards the image of a particular person it is still a reality and this filmmaker must have known that people would likely get killed. So, I say he deserves to be regarded like someone who incites riot or yells FIRE in a theatre.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Cq

      How in the hell did "Richard" get pasted in my name spot? Weird! :-)

      September 13, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Scott E

      Since no one had ever heard of that film before, it is curious that these Muslims picked that film out of thousands of anti-Islam films to make a stink over, don't you?
      And as for charging this guy with anything, let me just point out to you that HE DID NOTHING ILLEGAL.

      Those Muslims could have refrained from becoming violent, but then your little theory would be shown to be FALSE about this being the same as yelling "fire" so why don't you quit being an idiot and realize you are arguing for submitting our whole country to the dictates of foreign Muslims who would have done the same thing even if the Internet had gone down before the film was released.

      They would have done the same thing regardless of the film! You are guilty of being an airhead! We do not let foreigners dictate our laws or how we speak you idjit. Why don't you go live somewhere else?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • tallulah13

      A little late in the game, Scott E. but, I did mention that the filmmaker, though cowardly, was protected by the Const.itution.

      If you are paying attention, you can see the the middle east is in a state of turmoil. What exactly is gained by making an anti-muslim film and posting it where it can be seen world wide? Actions have consequences, and these consequences killed Americans who had nothing to do with the film. These consequences have American soldiers in Libya.

      I don't say that the behavior of the Libyan extremists is correct. However, I don't get to dictate their behavior. All I can do is not strike the hornets nest while someone else is standing under it. If you feel good about American's dying and another war brewing, then I pity you.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  10. Stronghand

    Christianity has historically proven it can be just as violent as Islam. Historical examples like the Crusades or more current ones such as a extremist christian bombing an abortion clinic, claiming it is "God's will". It is not the religion that is misled or violent. It is the people who use a religion to rationalize their violent/extreme cause or behavior and pollute the message to draw more support to their extremist cause. To try and say this problem of oppression, fanatacism, and intolerance towards other faiths is only confined to Islam is absolutely obsurd.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • vahellbilly

      Current events (over the last 35+ years) show without fail that Islam is the current bully on the world-stage... If you are talking about 400+ yrs ago, neither one was any better and were BOTH culpible for wars, invasions, colonizations, slavery, cultural destruction, etc...

      September 13, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • n

      Stop using centuries old rationalization. The Crusades are done, Christianity has moved on. You don't see Christians burning Southpark posters do you? You don't see Christians killing ambassadors in the name of Jesus do you? So why don't you take your weak argument somewhere else?

      September 13, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • CW

      Yawn. Just another tired, useless argument that MIGHT have made sense 400 years ago.

      September 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  11. Colin

    1. Christian makes film about a loony and oppressive religion.
    2. Muslims react by killing 4 innocent people.
    3. Step 2 takes place on anniversary of massive attack by Muslims.

    Anybody see a common theme here?

    Religion is a poison. A stain on society. The sooner we throw our gods, ghosts and goblins into the dustbin of history the better. The first man on the moon has already died and we are still fighting over who came up with the best pre-Dark Ages sky-fairy.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Sam

      Its ironic that the "religion of peace" riots and kills people for making fun of them

      September 13, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • NTEX

      I am a Muslim American woman. I came to this country when I was 19. I read so many hateful ignorant comments here. I have one thing to tell you hateful jerks: While you were too busy hating others, I worked hard, went to college, built a successful life, serve the community, raised good successful children and preached love and understanding to others. Don't tell me I could not do that in the country I came from, because my sisters are lawyers, doctors and engineers. Don't generalize people. My Christian police husband abused me for four years and made me believe I was nobody without him. I have never seen my father abuse my mother. Abuse happens everywhere. Only the losers don't take their time to understand others.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • angrybabykitty

      @Colin- well said.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Oldeye

      This is for NTEX

      Muslims (the majority) do not preach hatred or condone killing people.
      it's the extremists who are also Muslims, known by many other names,
      who make the Muslims look bad. This is the stereotyping, thing.
      I feel your frustration on being stereotyped sentiment from the vast
      majority. Well, I happen to believe in coexistence among all people and
      religion. Coexistence means trying to understand each other and have
      respect for others as you would want them to respect you.
      I do feel poorly about the fact the you ex-christian husband abused you.
      There are no stereotypes in christian religion, either. There are only people who
      are pretty much the same as in any religion. Person's up bringing, education and
      many other factors make the person. I hope you are not feeling superior because
      you achieved personal freedom(whatever it maybe), according to your definition of it.
      I will tell you one thing. I wish that the Muslim community if more vocal about condemning
      the extremists who violate the basic human dignity. To live in harmony and peace with others.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • CW

      NTEX, how disgusting that you have ZERO reaction to the 4 dead people and claim another woe-is-me story. By not giving a damn about those killed, you proved that you really haven't adopted our country's values. Lame.

      September 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • fred

      1 Jesus Christ the full radiance of God says love your enemy and love your neighbor.
      2 Atheist Stalin and Mao attempt to rid their country of Christians

      See any connection here Colin?

      September 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  12. Dude

    We have a fundamental right to tell people that they suck. Otherwise, they won't know that they suck and they'll keep right on sucking.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  13. Truth

    Free speech is a right but not when it is false, misleading, and/or slanderous. In the west sladerous statements lead to lawsuits and court orders to stop making such statements. This film is just that, so no it is not protected by free speech. On the other hand people are free to protest against a film even if it was protected by free speech. Do protests get out of hand, yes we know that's the case in many places even in the west, where people riot over soccer and hockey games, or political issues, by burning police cars, smashing store windows etc. So the mid east isn't any different from the USA, Canada, or Britain. The grenade attacks on the embassy don't count as representative because it was done by extremists who wanted to attack anyway.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Scott E

      The film was satire and parody and is therefore PROTECTED SPEECH. It is not slander because a religion is not a person, nor is Mohammad known to even exist for certain, so anything can be speculated about him and his religion which is all just a bunch of made-up lies anyway.

      You don't know squat about the law.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • tallulah13

      The speech is not protected in Libya. Right or wrong, extremists will react, usually with violence. The price for this film will not be paid by the filmmaker. It will be paid by Embas.sy workers and American soldiers.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  14. Sam

    The issue here is that previously isolated sets of people are now being exposed to a global medium of information and for the first time ever, they are being presented with ideas and opinions completely contrary to their own. For centuries, the Middle east has been almost entirely Muslim and in that environment there were the things that no one ever went against, things that were sacred. Now with the advent of telecommunications, especially the internet, their worldview is being challenged. Because, believe me when I say, NOTHING is sacred on the internet. Nor should it be.

    The only good we can hope to come of this is the introduction of doubt into the minds of these zealots. Hopefully when they notice the entire world is not hung up on the ideas of the Quran, and their beliefs do not fit in with the known parts of reality, they will question their beliefs and ultimately abandon them. It will certainly take time to reverse the indoctrination of hundreds of years, but hopefully in the end we can all get past our prejudices and refuse to cling and identify with any set of beliefs.

    Beliefs can and often are wrong and thats completely ok. Once people understand this, we will see a much greater level of peace in the world.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Rahul_the_Waffle

      Great response in some ways, but I think the issue is a lot more complicated than the religious aspect. Yes, they found it offensive in a very significant way, because of the depiction of Muhammad. But this is also an expression of pent-up frustration at the US for its seeming disregard for Muslims in general, which should be unsurprising. We in the US might think of it as "nation building" and "democracy" etc etc, but all they've really experienced is being stuck in the middle of a civil war and then being bombed out by people who were "helping" them. They've already been pretty mad about things in general, and for them their religion is the last resort, whether they truly believe everything in the Quran is one thing, but they're not going to "let" anyone not of their religion ridicule them and essentially, their entire live in such a way.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • CW

      And we should continue to challenge a world view which includes the subjugation of women, intolerance towards gays and religious minorities and the rampant xenophobia that permeates the Middle East.

      September 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  15. Conspiracy Theory

    The movie seemed to come along at the same time the terrorists were planning an attack on the aniversary of 9/11, coincidence? A spontanious demonstration has the perps armed with automatic weapons and rockets and last for hours is just not believable. The movie was the rational not the cause of the attack, not that fanatics ever need an excuse to carry out their atrocities.

    September 13, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • tallulah13

      Your name is entirely correct.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  16. Jan

    Respect for human life, respect for religious liberty...We have killed over 54,000,000 innocent human beings in the U.S. since the passage of Roe v Wade. The U.S. government respects religious liberty so much that it tries to force people who are deeply, religiously opposed to abortion to condone and even pay for it. Seems like there's a whole lot of disrespect for human life and religious liberty going on right here in the U.S.A. Perhaps Mr. Obama, rather than applauding and funding Planned Parenthood, the largest purveyor of abortion in the U.S., could start by apologizing for the atrocities going on daily in this country and do everything he can to stop them...

    September 13, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      Your point is worthy of serious discussion. The government could do an end-run by paying for abortions directly out of the public revenue but would someone opposed to abortion have the right to withhold the portion of their taxes that goes to that purpose? By the same token, would a pacifist have the right to withhold the portion of their taxes that goes to support the military?

      September 13, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • BRC

      @Jan,
      1) ZERO government funding goes towards abortions. At all. The funding provided to planned parenthood CANNOT be used for abortions, plain and simple.

      2) No individual who is against abortion is EVER required to pay for or it. Unless you can give me an example where the government told a specific individual "YOU, pay for that other person's abortion". No, making businesses provide health care doesn't count (for starters the health care doesn't pay for abortion, but more importantly businesses aren't people).

      3) Those who are opposed to abortion are only required to condone it to the point that they can't stop other people from getting a legal medical procedure. I believe drinking is bad for you and a waste of time and money, but I can't stop people from doing it. That doesn't mean I condone it, it just means that other people are doing something legal I don't agree with and I can get over it.

      4) Our nation respects the individual's right to practice their religion as well or better then any other nation in the world, unless of course you're someone of no faith. So really, can you give even one clear example of the GOVERNMENT denying someone's religious liberty?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Drink my Kool-aid

      @jan
      Abortion is legal in the US. Its not murder in the definition of the law so your wrong. You could always move to a Muslim country where they would check you for your virginity. Seems like you would fit in with that line of thinking....
      PS religion is based on ancient myths which are so outdated and backwards its laughable, religion should not be respected, it should be mocked for how stupid it is.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • doughnuts

      Zero "innocent human beings" have been killed via abortion since the passage of Roe v. Wade.

      Now stick to the topic at hand.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Veronica

      Dear "Drink my Kool-aid",

      "Abortion is legal in the US. Its not murder in the definition of the law so your wrong."
      -It'S not murder in the defintion of the law so you'RE wrong.

      Thank you

      September 13, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Arvoasitis – The biggest problem with your argumant is that defending America is a core mission of government but funding genecide through abortions is not. Systematic destruction of human life in a country that claims to defend freedom is a disgrace. Abortions are fundementally immoral, a violation of human rights and inconsistent with American core values.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Drink my Kool Aid – Abortion may be legal in this country but it is still disgraceful and immoral to systematically destroy the life of our children. What does it say about who we are as human beings? Stop hiding behind the laws of men and stand up for those that have no voice that experience the most injustice of all...the unborn. As a parent, I personally don't understand what kind of human being can destroy the life of an unborn child. We care for so many in need in our culture but we can't protect the most innocent.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Drink my Kool-aid

      @veronica
      Thank you grammer Nazi, for not adding anything of value too the topic at hand...other than showing everyone your a petty cvnt.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Sam

      No one forces you to condone abortion. You have a choice. That is the essence of liberty. If you do not approve of abortion, then do not have one. Simple as that. For those that would choice that option, then that is up to them. That is their choice.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Drink my Kool-aid

      @SPAknight
      The only laws that matter are the laws dictated by men, and the laws of the country you live in. Abortion is an excellent option. I don't understand how someone thinks it's ok to bring a child into the world they can not take care of. A fetus does not rights therefore its the mothers right to decide what's best. Not your right, not some imaginary gods right. Its a woman body, so it's a woman right to choose.
      What we can't afford to care for is more children the parents cant or won't take care of, abandon or leave for the welfare system to care of. Well send all the unwanted children to your home for you to raise ok?

      September 13, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Drink my Kool Aid – The so called laws of men seem to be more laws of women only. It's a woman's body but there is a father involved when a life is created but according to your logic he doesn't seem to have a voice either. Is that justice to you? Ironically, the same laws you seem to accept are those that view an unborn child as having rights if a pregnant woman were murdered. In most cases, the killer would be prosecuted for a double murder but one canot be prosecuted for killing one that has no rights correct? Your logic doesn't hold up because you merely want to justify a behavior that is fundementally wrong. As far as your comments about bringing children into a world where the child will not be taken care of is more foolish talk. There is no shortage of resources available for children, just a shortage of personal responsibility and an abundance of selfishness, immorality and corruption. Take a trip to Haiti and see those poor children smile and enjoy the gift of life in poorest country in our hemisphere and then tell me they didn't deserve a chance at life.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • tallulah13

      SPA: how often does the "father" of an unwanted child actually step up and take care of it? We have over half a million children in foster care in this country. Most of them will never be adopted. Many of them will have unwanted children of their own. Some will be abused or killed by their foster parents, and some will end up in jail. Shouldn't we find a solution for this before we add to their number?

      Easily obtainable birth control and proper education to go with it are the best way to stop abortion, but religious groups and conservative politicians fight this logic every step of the way. Until this nation faces up to the fact that people are going to have s.ex anyway, abortion is going to remain an option, legal or not.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @SPA,

      As far as your comments about bringing children into a world where the child will not be taken care of is more foolish talk. There is no shortage of resources available for children, just a shortage of personal responsibility and an abundance of selfishness, immorality and corruption.

      Obviously you have never been a pregnant 16 year old girl, whose boyfriend left her when he found out she was pregnant, whose single mother with three other kids told her she was on her own, who has a learning disability and has the equivalent of an 8th grade education, who has just been told her child will have serious birth defects.

      There are NOT enough resources, there are not enough people willing to take in damaged, sick, broken kids. Or take care of the pregnant women while they carry that baby. Abortion isn't a good thing. It isn't a choice any of us WANT to make.

      It is, however, a necessity.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  17. NJJOHN

    The Islamic nations seem to react violently to many things... They don't voice their disapproval in an educated logical manner at all... The Korans that were burned, "riots in the streets", the Portrayal of Mohammed in ANY way "riots in the streets and killings at the consulate".. They kill there daughter for becoming "westernized". They kill their wives for "adultery" they throw acid on their women for "suspected disloyalty to the husband", yet they want to treated fairly in modern society.. This is peole that threaten to take the world back 5,000 years... It's 2012, not 3,000 BC

    September 13, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Drink my Kool-aid

      Sounds like a reasonable, tolerant group of people.....

      September 13, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • NTEX

      I am a Muslim American woman. I came to this country when I was 19. I read so many hateful ignorant comments here. I have one thing to tell you hateful jerks: While you were too busy hating others, I worked hard, went to college, built a successful life, serve the community, raised good successful children and preached love and understanding to others. Don't tell me I could not do that in the country I came from, because my sisters are lawyers, doctors and engineers. Don't generalize people. My Christian police husband abused me for four years and ade me believe I was nobody without him. I have never seen my father abuse my mother. Abuse happens everywhere. Only the losers don't take their time to understand others.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  18. jimbobbeebob

    So let me get this straight....offending muslims in any way creates a massive uprising of violence and is called "hate speech". However it is quite alright, and actually considered comedy, to attack Jesus in a cartoon or portray Jesus in a negative light on say something like Family Guy etc... Let those that make such films do so – it is their right. Otherwise, if it were up to our muslim friends, EVERY person should cease to make so called "hate speech" films cause its going to offend someone. Who said we all have to agree anyway?

    September 13, 2012 at 7:13 am |
    • Portland tony

      There are more than a billion Muslims world wide, so I don't think a few thousand, if that many, would be considered massive. To exercise our free speech, lets make a hate movie about Jesus and Abraham and show it in the Vatican and Israel?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Portland Tony – Many movies have already been made that are anti-Catholic including The Last Temptation of Christ which was totally blasphemy but nobody went to an embassy to drag an innocent person from a foreign governemnt out and kill them over it. Catholics peacefully protested, boycotted the film and spoke out against it's lies but they would not have stood by quietly if a militant Catholic group went out and killed innocent people over it. I know many loving and peaceful Muslims but they remain a silent majority when militant islamists kill in the name of Islam.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Portland tony

      @SPA.....The last temptation of Christ and its portrial of Jesus was in no way close to the gross blasphemy perpetrated towards the Muslim faith in this hate filled movie . Even so, there were riots etc..in Catholic/Christian dominated nations around the world at the attempted screening of the last temptation ...Even a few casualties!

      September 13, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • n

      Portland Tony, do you ever watch Bill Maher and Penn & Teller? Southpark? Tell me again, how that is not hate-filled against Christians and Christianity.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  19. saggyroy

    So now telling your kids there is no Santa Claus is hate speech?

    September 13, 2012 at 6:18 am |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 13, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • Portland tony

      Don't know about prayer, but your vocabulary is very limited. Perhaps you should retake a few courses in communication at Liberty University?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • To Prayer Troll

      You are part of the problem, your fanatic obsession is very sick, no matter what the topic of the article you post the same drivel over and over, to what point? Pray that your mind gets right, when it does you may be able to stop and/or seek medical help. On second thought go straight to the doctor, sane people know prayer is just talking to yourself.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 13, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • angrybabykitty

      Is this all this person ever says? I've been reading the blog and most comments for about a month now, this is the only statement I have ever seen this person repeat.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • .

      This poster suffers from low self esteem issues which is why they have to repeat themselves over and over again.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:59 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.