I think the fact that there is an asymmetry between how critiques of Islam are received by US intellectuals and how critiques of Christianity are received is so obvious I am not even going to bother to prove it. Suffice it to say that the same folks who refrained from even printing the fairly tame Danish Mohammed cartoons embrace satire of Christianity that is far more harsh, e.g. the Book of Mormon.
So accepting this asymmetry as nearly an axiom, I want to ask instead: Is this asymmetry an exception being made for Islam, or an exception being made for Christianity. In other words:
- Do these folks support criticisms of all religions except Islam, because Islam is somehow different, perhaps out of a fear of violence? If so, aren't we just encouraging anyone who is butt-hurt to resort to violence by giving folks with a Molotov cocktail an effective veto over speech?
- Or, do these folks oppose criticisms of all religions except Christianity, perhaps because Republicans and Texans are Christians and intellectuals really don't like those guys. In some ways this is parallel to the asymmetric way the "right not to be offended" is enforced on most campuses, with everyone afraid to offend a black woman but with no punishments assessed for offending white males.
Either answer, by the way, is absolutely unacceptable. People who want to limit speech in a way to favor their own in-group should wonder what might happen when their group is no longer "in".