Holy art critics!

Seems like superstition is the only thing that makes objection to a work of art homocidal.

A few years ago, Danish cartoons skeptical about Islam and Muhammad led to death threats, attacks, and death. Now many people have lost their minds over a YouTube movie critical of Islam. Riots. People dead. For what? Superstitions.

On February 14, 1989 Iranian cleric and ruler Ayotollah Ruhollah Khomeni ordered a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, author of the new book The Satanic Verses. The fatwa was a sentence of death. Khomeni offered the  bounty out of his own pocket.

Did Khomeni actually read the book? Probably not. A mild book. A fatwa is not issued against non-believers. Rushdie, who grew up Muslim, was an apostate. THAT was worthy of death. Khomeni was also contending with a raft of shit for hundreds of thousands of Iranian deaths in an ongoing battle with Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Wrestling with the ambiguities of war and fading public relations? Declare a holy war against a straw man!

Rushdie lived under death threats for many years. Publishers and translators of the book were attacked and left for dead. Why? Superstition.

And many significant figures in the West were of little help. Rather than defend the right to free expression, several thought Rushdie brought the misery and mortal peril upon himself for seeming to challenge superstitious beliefs. "Respect of faith" was deemed more importance than free expression. Examples:

"I well understand the devout Muslims' reaction, wounded by what they hold most dear and would themselves die for."
- Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury

"Both Mr Rushdie and the Ayatollah have abused freedom of speech."
- Immanuel Jakobovits, chief rabbi of Great Britain

Ecumenical attacks on free speech are not a solution. Superstitions make people think they are no longer bound by the social contract or the law. Superstitions cause people to believe that misbehavior in this life will lead to eternal reward in the next life. Misbehavior in this life can be a fine thing, but eternal bliss is false. Its touted rewards tend to be numbingly dull or tellingly revenge-driven and tawdry.

I'll take bad art over sloppy books claiming magical powers any day.

But, hoo-boy, by this THIRTEEN MINUTE MOVIE TRAILER this movie looks like an unholy mess!