By Michael Coren

The past week witnessed two more suicide attempts from the Western world. The first was when CNN ran three shows on religious fundamentalism, making the appallingly relativistic and fatuous argument that the Christian, Jewish and Islamic varieties were not only similar but equally hazardous.

At almost the same time The Washington Post and several other newspapers in North America refused to run an instalment of the highly popular Opus cartoon because they feared it might offend Muslims. The strip showed the eccentric faddist character Lola Granola in a headscarf, telling her boyfriend that she wants to be a radical Islamist.

First CNN, and their hilarious attempt to make us feel better with the knowledge that all religions are the same and sanity will prevail if we manage to expunge faith from the world. The same Christian faith, one supposes, that forms the infrastructure of social welfare, community care and education in most of the Third World and large chunks of North America and Europe. Christian and Jewish fundamentalism can indeed be annoying and if we speak out against the excesses of either we’re likely to receive a severe letter and have people praying for us. If we speak out against the Islamic variety we’re more likely to have our heads cut off. That, comrades at CNN, is a fairly important distinction.

What seemed to escape the breathless host of these silly shows was that it was only in a nation built on Judeo-Christian ideals, the United States, that religion could be criticized. Even, as in this case, unfairly criticized. If you doubt this, ask journalists in the Middle East how much freedom of expression they enjoy. Within the Islamic world itself, the less Muslim the country the more free are its people. Which is why Turkey, Jordan and Indonesia are far more open and tolerant than Iran, Saudi Arabia or Sudan.

From a cartoon of a television program to a, well, cartoon. It’s significant that the same newspapers that censored the cartoon strip that mentioned Islam had all carried Opus a week earlier when it made fun of Jerry Falwell. No surprises there. The Washington Post justified its decision to be more sensitive to Muslims because, it said, the cartoon was shown to Islamic employees and they had become “emotional.” Well, that’s OK then. Christians, of course, had no opportunity to be emotional or indifferent to the Falwell stuff as they were never shown it. Because, after all, they’re just Christians.

Frankly, we shouldn’t care how bloody emotional someone becomes about a cartoon. It’s a cartoon; it’s supposed to provoke a reaction. So it’s just another example of liberals messing their pants. Just as when The New York Times refused to print the now infamous and largely innocuous Mohammad cartoons because, it explained, they could describe them in words and had no need to show readers the actual drawings that had led to Muslim fanatics killing people across the world. The newspaper staff’s literary abilities, however, apparently disappeared just a few days later when they ran a large picture of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, covered in excrement. This was part of a local art exhibit and could not possibly be described in words.

Really? I smell something far worse than excrement. The stink of cowardice, hypocrisy and bigotry. An awful stink that fouls the air in newsrooms across this country as well. Suicide with a bad smell.

Copyright (c) 2007, Canoe Inc. Reprinted with permission of the author