Pamela Geller will never stop her fight, even in the face of beheadings, even when other Conservatives deride her, even if no one else understands why she is doing it.
Geller has organized competitions that feature artists drawing the Muslim prophet Muhammed, which is a violation of Muslim beliefs. She does so because people have been threatened and killed for doing it. And in The United States of America, she argues, we should not allow threats to keep us from exercising our First Amendment rights.
“I am not being overly provocative or purposely insulting Muslims,” Geller insists. “Islamic jihadists, not I, made Muhammad cartoons the flash point for the defense of the freedom of speech when they began killing over them. If we don’t stand against them on that point, the only alternative is surrender and submission.”
Pamela Geller’s motives for what she does are often misunderstood. But she is gaining traction among people on both sides of the political aisle. The difficult thing about understanding and agreeing with Pamela Geller’s motives is that one may also find her methods distasteful.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes, while calling Pamela Geller’s views “odious and cretinous,” did draw a parallel that might help some understand her mission.
“If we were going to do a segment [on his show] that was about someone that was advertising on the network and I was kind of on the fence about it, or actually didn’t like the segment, right, I thought it was a little unfair maybe, but then someone came to us and said ‘you can’t do that segment because of an advertiser.’ I’d be like, ‘now we have to do the segment.’ Because I have to — it has to be the case that we can do that segment.”
Geller sees being understood yet reviled as a dichotomy that many have had to face when insisting on their freedoms. Some may engage in civil disobedience to prove a point about violations of their Constitutional rights. Observers may shy away from aligning with such a person. But history often is kind to them, celebrating their once-derided actions as needed for freedoms regained in their wake.
Pamela Geller, running from studio to studio, says she can't understand why the focus is on her instead of jihadists.
— Allen McDuffee (@AllenMcDuffee) June 4, 2015
Her issue is not just one that finds a typical Left/Right divide in the United States. Fox News hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham have said Geller “was insulting the entire religion, one held by our moderate allies such as Egypt and Qatar.”
Pamela Geller sees this as ignorance.
“They are wrong in assuming that we must submit to Sharia to placate moderates, rather than that moderates need to accept the freedom of speech.
Geller draws a parallel that illustrates her point.
“Roman Catholics don’t like their religion mocked or the mockery of other religions,” Geller says, “but Roman Catholics don’t kill when their religion is mocked — and so no one talks about “provoking” them or ‘respecting’ them. In any pluralistic society, we have to put up with being offended and even with our core beliefs being mocked. Roman Catholics have learned that. Mormons and others have learned that — look at The Book of Mormon on Broadway. Why must we condescend to Muslims and think they cannot learn that? It’s the low expectation of soft bigotry.”
Some say they know they have Freedom of Speech that allows them to draw Muhammed, but they do not wish to insult or provoke Muslims. Geller calls these people out.
“They are afraid of being killed by Islamic jihadists and camouflage their fear and cowardice as ‘respect’ for Islam and Muslims.”
Montel Williams, known for his disgust with Pamela Geller, posted a tweet recently that stepped into Grammar Police territory, but only succeeded in showing that he does not know the word “blaspheme.”
— Montel Williams (@Montel_Williams) June 8, 2015