I've noticed an interesting trend in the rhetoric about, well, rhetoric - as it relates to speaking up and speaking out.
I was in a band years ago - an acid jazz band (for wont of a better term) and we were in the 'green room' at the club we were playing when I noticed they were pumping in really awful eighties disco. One of the singers, Yva, was this Peruvian pixie dyke with a full on beotch attitude and the voice of a goddess. In the room was a leather clad gay kid - a friend of hers. In any case, I said something like: 'What the fuck am I listening to? How'm I supposed to keep my fucking mojo up listening to this disco shit!" Immediately, the boy starts to cry and Yva starts reading me the riot act on how I had just insulted his "people's" music!
Listen, this was pretty surreal 'cause Yva is about 4'7" and this kid was inches taller than me. Yet, he was almost in a fetal position weeping and Yva hates disco - so I guess her 'people' were different from his. Still, while it was really not fun to piss Yva off I told her to fuck off and she took a swing at me.
Hey, I wasn't trying to insult the kid. I might have asked him what I said and even apologized if I hurt his feelings somehow. Probably, I would have given him some crap with that apology because, ultimately, he was being a wuss - which wasn't about him being gay - just a wuss. But once Yva got all hotheaded and violent, I wasn't about to back off. The music was shit and was fucking with my mojo. I had to go back on stage and make sax riffs up on the spot - cause that's what jazz is - and I didn't need that saccharine crap in my head. And, besides, ultimately I had every right to my opinion and no one gets to control that - with threats or wussy cry tactics.
Pissing off Muslims or anyone else just because I'm willing to say that religion is shit - clearly an opinion - one unconcerned with winning friends - is, frankly, their frikkin' problem. It isn't bigotry, It isn't racism. It isn't intolerance. It isn't militancy. It's a frikkin' opinion - about something they espouse - not something in their genetic makeup they can't control. Crying or threatening violence because of my 'disrespect' or 'insensitivity' warrants I stand up for myself.
At the end of the day, despite the fact that I have no faith - apparently I have deeper convictions. Someone else's opinion of atheism doesn't threaten my atheism. Why is it so damn easy to threaten someone's faith?