Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Four Christian Missionaries, laughably arrested and charged with inciting a riot at a Dearborn Muslim festival, have been acquitted by a jury. One of the missionaries was found guilty of failure to obey a police officer’s order
The missionaries videotaped the entire incident and posted it on Youtube. To charge these four with inciting a riot is like charging Rowan Williams with orthodoxy, the charge will never stick.
The four missionaries, from a group called Acts 17 Apologetics specifically proselytizes Muslims, this is the real reason they were arrested that day. To proselytize a Muslim is to suggest that the Muslim may be wrong and that is all the evidence of bigotry some people need.
Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly Jr. said the missionaries were “anti-Muslim bigots pulling a publicity stunt to gain attention on YouTube in order to raise money.”
I must say that I am fairly tired of bigotry charges. To disagree or even to fairly criticize is not bigotry. To arrest people simply because of what they believe, however, pretty clearly crosses my bigotry bar—which is set pretty high these days.
Criticism is not bigotry folks. Criticize the president, you are a bigot. Criticize a decision to build a mosque, you are a bigot. Attend a tax protest, you are a bigot.
Bigotry is a state of mind and heart most easily discerned by those bereft of alluring argument. The trump card of the stumped.
Unwelcome speech, even if impolite, does not rise to the level of incitement to riot simply because some people are purposefully incitable. The jury in this case made the right call. Then again, they are probably bigots too.