There is no question that images ridiculing religion, however offensive they may be to believers, qualify as protected free speech in the United States and most Western democracies. There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.I'll stop right there. The "but" is that, sure it's "free" speech, but well we just can't go about provoking members of a certain religion.
What makes this editorial extra special is that the Times has been famously hypocritical about reprinting blasphemous images over the last few decades. They had no problem with “Piss Christ” or Chris Ofili’s elephant-dung portrait of the Virgin Mary, both of which “inflicted deliberate anguish” on million of devout Christians, but they wouldn’t touch the Danish Mohammed cartoons 10 years ago and they wouldn’t touch the Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cartoons this winter even though both were at the center of major international news events.As usual, the media and the Left (but I repeat myself) wants to be the arbiter of what is "free" speech, explicitly ignoring the language of the First Amendment. The NY Times doesn't like Pam Geller and if ISIS kills her, it won't defend her rights but will say, in effect, she asked for it. Then when Sharia law (hypothetically) shuts down the free press, the Times will ask: what happened?