While I do realize that the film “The Innocence of Muslims” is highly offensive to the Islamic religion and done in poor taste, I do believe in the right to free speech. No matter what someone says, there will be someone else who is offended by it.
On one hand, perhaps we should censor hate speech such as the content of the film; however, what it comes down to is where we draw the line on what is too much. Clearly, “The Innocence of Muslims” is way beyond that line; but once we start censoring, where do we stop? How do we define hate speech? Is hate speech when a campaign ad for one political candidate bashes another’s ideals completely? Is it hate speech to write an article on why one politician shouldn’t be in office? It’s a matter of defining what hate speech is.
I do not believe the question is as simple as whether or not the U.S. should continue to consider hate speech, protected speech. Say we stop protecting hate speech, and we create a definitive definition of it. The problem is still not solved; what one person sees as fitting in the definition of hate speech, another may not see. This is the problem with censoring anything.
I would hope that most people are able to realize when something they might say is deeply offensive, and re-word their thoughts to be less offensive, especially if they know that the target group will hear them. Of course, many people may not even realize what they’re doing.
If we ban hate speech, people will still do it. Many things are illegal and looked down upon, yet people still do them. Unfortunately, modifying the law will not change this.
So, although I do not wish any group to be subject to such hate speech, I do believe that censoring any type of speech will cause more problems than not.
If there was a way that we could realistically do this, I would be all for trying it; I just don’t believe that there’s a good way to do it. Instead, perhaps we should work on educating our citizens about other cultures so that there are fewer unfair biases about other religions.