By David Kennedy Houck 

"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech..." 

Yet, curiously, the American media shall impose laws of self-censorship when it comes to publishing the 12-Danish Cartoons. Indeed, the list of American media outlets that have deferred from reprinting these cartoons is extensive, if not almost completely exhaustive. This is both shocking and frightening. When did America's newspapers and media outlets suddenly get "religious sensitivity"?

Most will recall how pictures of "Piss Christ," (Christ submerged in a vat of urine) were widely disseminated because the story was, "news worthy." Of course, no one died and no death threats followed this outrage, but the entire world was offered a gratuitous look at the blamsphemous images. More recently, the NY Times, in a display of the media's worsening cognitive dissonance, actually re-published an artists' rendition of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, covered in cow feces from a story 7-years ago. Why did they do this? Inexplicably, it appeared in conjunction with a story about the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that the Times wasn't publishing.

The self-censoring and appeasing reaction from the media is exactly the response Muslim radicals predicted and intended. Remember, these drawings were first published in September 2005 and there was no reaction from Muslims - none. In fact, the cartoons were even reprinted in an Egyptian paper without any public outcry. However, during the interim, a radical cleric from Denmark took these drawings, along with some additional images not a part of the originally commissioned project, and paraded them across the Arab/Muslim world with the sole intent of inciting renewed hatred for the infidels and striking fear in the hearts of any "moderate" Muslims. By all accounts, it has been a smashing success.

Perhaps if there were not so much hypocrisy related to these protests, one might be inclined to understand or even sympathize with outrage on the infamous Arab street. The apparent rage over a few cartoons is confusing, particularly when there was no visible outrage after the events of 9/11; nor are there angry protests denouncing suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq; and, no visible angst over far worse portrayals of Jews and Christians in their own state sponsored media. To watch and listen to westerners argue that we should be "more sensitive" to Muslim beliefs is exactly what the radicals want. Islam must be above criticism. It must be supreme. That is the essence of Islam and Shari'a law. And for westerners to nod approval to such ideas is both dangerous and frightening.

Radical Islam is deeply threatened by the west; Afghanistan and Iraq, if successful, will place these radicals in an untenable position, so they are waging a desperate fight not only against western ideals, but those Muslims who earnestly desire to live free of the oppressive totalitarian yoke of Islamism. Western nations must defend free speech and not be so quick to dismiss this issue. The Islamists want us to apologize; they want our leaders prostrate and asking for forgiveness. It is a picture directly from a Shari'a Court.

Islamic claims of supremacy are prevalent throughout the western world, and these issues, because they are often promoted through non-violence never make it onto the radar; but they are real and transpiring in a neighborhood near you today. CAIR (Council for American Islamic Relations), founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood (who have avowed destruction of the west), monitor speech across America everyday about Muslims and Islam, and they are constantly engaging in legal threats and action against those who speak poorly of Islam. More recently, legal briefs submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States by the ACLU, in association with Muslim groups, amazingly, have included citations to Shari'a law as legal authority.

As these challenges to our freedoms unfold, it would appear the American media has gone completely off the deep end. Freedom of speech; codified in the First Amendment of our Constitution; the bedrock upon which America is built, is summarily abandoned by those charged with its first line of defense: the press. The American media has withheld showing the Danish cartoons, apparently because the venerable editors have discovered "religious sensitivity" (Read: Fear of Islamists). So, as the Middle East burns and violence erupts across that region, American's must put down the paper or turn-off the network news and access the Internet to get the full story. The media may think re-printing the cartoons is unnecessary; or merely an act of provocation, but that notion is, at best, misguided, at worst, total capitulation. The real issue is whether the American media will continue to "self-censor" in fear; or stand to defend the principles upon which it derives legitimacy.

Based upon the deafening silence, we already know the answer.

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