This is a short play intended to explain the concept of free speech, and how it’s irrational to ban people from saying certain things because they “deeply offend” a specific group of people.
(An angry Muslim appears in front a judge)
Muslim: Your honor, I’ve had enough. I’m tired of these blasphemous fools making a mockery of my faith all the time! I’d like you to help pass a new law that forbids people from using derogatory remarks against religious personalities.
Judge: Why should I do that?
Muslim: Because the things these people say are extremely offensive to me and my people! We love our Prophet (PBUH) more than we love our parents…our brothers and sisters…our own lives! Freedom of speech does not mean that people go around uttering obscenities against a figure held sacred by over 1.6 billion Muslims around the world! We don’t deserve this kind of harassment! I implore you to help protect our sentiments.
Judge: Hmm..you make an excellent case. I’ll see what I can do.
(A few months later, an anti-blasphemy law is passed, making blasphemy against Allah or His Prophet punishable by death. A Hindu comes to the judge)
Hindu: Sir, this is an outrage! You have immunized the Muslims, but what about us? Who shall protect the non-Muslims from blasphemy against their respective faiths? How come Muslims keep sending sms jokes about our beloved gods like Kali Maa and Hanuman, but the moment one of us shows even the slightest bit of disrespect for Muhammad, we get dragged off to court or have a fatwa issued against us by the dominant Islamic clerics?”
Judge: Fair enough! I’ll make sure that the anti-blasphemy law is extended to cover all religions.
Hindu: Including Scientology?
Hindu: Your honor, that has got the most frequently abused religion in the world!
Judge: Okay! Okay! Henceforth, nobody’s allowed to make fun of the Galactic Confederacy, as well as any other religion.
(Law is successfully amended to immunize all religions. Chris Crocker now barges into the judge’s office, sobbing uncontrollably)
Chris: LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE!!
Judge: What is the meaning of this? Ma’am, I’m going to hold you in contempt of court, if you don’t lower your voice right now!
Chris: How f***ing dare anyone of you make fun of Brittany Spears! She lost her aunt! She went through a divorce! She..
Judge: I’m sorry to hear that, but do you want from me?
Chris: (wipes his tears with his sleeve) It offends me deeply when these bastards make fun of Brittany! I love Brittany! She’s my idol. There’s nobody in the world I respect more than her! And to think of all these f****d up things people say about her…it just…(burst into tears again).
Judge: Okay, so?
Chris: I want you to ban people from making fun of Brittany! I mean it!
Judge: (gasps) Nonsense! Why would I do that?
Chris: Because it hurts my sentiments! And the sentiments of all hardcore Brittany fans out there! I want you to put a stop to this harassment! You did the same for the religious whiners! Why not for us?
Judge: Hurting religious sentiments is not the same as hurting sentiments of a pop artist’s fans!
Chris: How the hell do you know that?! How do you know who is offended more by what? Did you climb inside their heads and see how much they’ve been “hurt” on the inside? As far as you can tell, I’ve been hurt by insult to Britanny more than the Muslims have been hurt by insult to their Prophet!
Judge: Well, yes…but, see…look there are billions of religious people out there! And the pain caused by derogatory remarks against religious personalities is shared by ALL these people! So that’s a much bigger issue than yours.
Chris: Wait, let me get this straight. You’re saying that because there are more religious people in the world than non-religious ones, so the majority’s gonna have its sentiments protected by the government while the minorities can go f**k themselves? Just because we die-hard Britanny fans are a smaller group than the religious people, means that we will not be protected from having our feelings hurt, but they will? You call that justice?!
Judge: No, that’s not what I…it’s just that…what you’re demanding is just so damn ridiculous!
Chris: It may seem ridiculous to you, but it isn’t to me! Dude, you have no idea how much it hurts me when people make fun of poor, poor Brittany. Listen to me! Either you grant us all, religious AND non-religious, immunity against having our feelings hurt, by whatever cause that may be..
Judge: That’s not possible! That would mean the end of free-speech! Nobody will be able to criticize anything or anybody! Because everybody is offended deeply by something in the world! Anybody can claim that he or she is having his or her sentiments hurt by something and try to get that thing banned. (exhales) You know what, I’m having this law revoked.
Chris: What? No, don’t that! Let the blasphemy law stay, but extend it to include Brittany! I love her so much! Please respect my feelings! Why would you allow something that causes me so much mental pain?
Judge: Because through this whole “protecting of sentiments” crap, we’ll just end up immunizing the majority which has the greater volume, and leave the non-religious minorities with the lesser volume completely open to insult and ridicule. When it comes to free speech, either all of it is okay, or none of it is. Because when we pick out one group and pass a law to protect it from having its feelings hurt, then we would have to do the same for everybody else to maintain justice. And that would simply be impossible!
(Blasphemy law gets repealed. New law introduced. Section 295-X: Citizens shall be encouraged to grow thicker skin and get real)