1 A Bad Case of Dogmatic Distress
At one end of the bar Gerry and Bob are listening to Archie, the bartender, tell a joke. Just above, and to the side of where they are sitting, is a large television monitor (the sound is off).
It’s Johnny’s first visit to Maxies since he was shot outside the television station where he works. Cane in hand, he limps up to the bar. Archie interrupts his joke to greet him and shake hands.
Archie: Johnny, how are you? How have you been? It’s been a while. Sit down. I’ll get you a beer. Coors light, right?
Johnny: Not tonight. Make it a scotch; no ice, no water. Dalwhinnie if you've got it. And if you don’t mind, I’ll just stand.
Archie: Does it still hurt?
Johnny: What do you think!
[Just then, the news comes on and there is Johnny walking out of the hospital. Archie picks up the remote behind the bar and turns the sound on.]
Niqab-Wearing Newsreader: Johnny MacDonald, the well-known host of One-on-One with Johnny MacDonald was released from hospital this morning. As we reported last week, it was while walking home, after hosting a series of controversial interviews about the breakup of Canada that he was shot by a distraught viewer who, the police say, was suffering from a severe case of Dogmatic Distress Syndrome or DDS.
The immediately identifiable cause of his distress was a discussion of religion’s impact on the breakup. The exact cause of the distress we cannot disclose as it would violate the shooter's privacy rights.
The producers of One-on-One with Johnny MacDonald have already profusely apologized to Macdonald's assailant for any suffering the opinions expressed by the thoughtless host of One-on-One may have caused.
The police, while praising Johnny MacDonald's aggressor for relieving his distress without actually killing Mr. MacDonald, would like to remind viewers that the law now provides harsh penalties for those who would deliberately or even inadvertently cause a believer to experience a traumatic religious episode.
If it’s not too much trouble, if you are experiencing dogmatic distress because of something somebody said or wrote about your religion, please call the police and let the law deal with the cause of so much pain and discomfort.
[Archie turns the sound off]
Archie: I will never get use to people reading the news with their face covered.
Johnny: The trailblazer who ushered in the era of in-your-face marketing of your extremist point of view as anchor of a mainstream media newscast in North America was a Canadian woman. In an interview following her performance on Toronto CityNews in 2016 she gushed: “It feels really amazing to be the first hijabi (sic) reporter in Canada, but I certainly hope I’m not the last." And she wasn't, and the hijab gave way to the niqab, the face covering veil, and so it goes.
Archie: What do people who have to read lips do? I know they have captioning on most stations but what if you meet one on the street and you want to ask for directions, or something?
Johnny: You can usually gage the depth of a believing woman's faith by how much of her neck, face and hair she leaves uncovered. A woman who covers it all, except for her eyes of course, is an extremist in every sense of the word; a religious extremist but an extremist nonetheless. Such women will normally be accompanied by a male guardian in public who will tell you where to go. Better to trust your GPS.
Archie: How did we go from fighting extremists to giving them the keys to the place?
Johnny: We basically surrendered to the extremists when we allowed them to dictate the terms under which they would take the oath of citizenship, such as taking the Oath incognito. Where do you draw the line after that?
Archie: I get it, and one thing led to another as it always does. What about you? Will you be going to prison?
Johnny: No, not this time. As a first offender I will only have to pay a large fine and make another public apology expressing regret for any dogmatic distress anything I said during The Interviews may have caused.
Archie: Exactly what was it that pissed off the guy who shot you? We thought it might be because you called the Holy Alliance of Muslim Municipalities the HAM Alliance.
Johnny: I should not have referred to the Holy Alliance of Muslim Municipalities by its acronym H. A. M. M., but that is not why I was shot.
Archie: So what was it?
Johnny: At one point during my talk with Domeini I said that my first impression of Islam was that it was the creation of a child-like mind. That Islam had a child-like quality about it; a child’s certainty in having absolute knowledge of the world around him; a child’s intolerance of others who won’t play the game by his rules.
Archie: And the Ayatollah agreed with that?
Johnny: Yes. He said Allah values children, their innocence, their uncorrupted, simple, unsophisticated view of the world.
Archie: So, what was this guy’s problem?
Johnny: He felt that I insulted the Prophet Muhammad with my reference to a child-like mind.
Archie: That’s it! And he almost killed you for that! You were not making fun of his beliefs; you were not insulting his invisible friend!
Johnny: No, I wasn't, but he thought I was making fun of God's acclaimed last and greatest spokesperson, and that is just as bad, if not worse. Remember the Cartoon Protests?
Archie: I remember seeing really angry people marching in the streets of London, of all places, carrying signs demanding that anyone who mocked or insulted Islam be butchered on the spot.
Johnny: And no one intervened...
Archie: Are you saying that is how we went from prosecuting people who threatened other people, who try to murder them to praising them?
Johnny: Not long before the cartoons were published, the London subway and a bus were bombed killing 52 people and injuring more than 700.
Archie: Are you saying the two are related?
Johnny: In the minds of British legislators at the time, they had to be. Following these deplorable events, the British Parliament saw to it, despite a plea by an alliance of Muslims, Christians and others, that you criticized the Book which inspired the slaughter or the man who claimed to have been charged with making its content known to mankind at your peril.
It could not of course, at the time, butcher Islam's detractors as the protestors demanded, but it could silence most of them with threats of fines and imprisonment by making a criticism of scriptures − the Koran and the example and sayings of the Prophet the focus of the legislation − the equivalent of hate speech.
Archie: But this so-called hate legislation did not stop the most dangerous hatred of all, did it?
Johnny: Hate legislation, where a religion like Islam is concerned, is a Faustian bargain at best. It is a bargain that the State makes with those who see criticisms of their Faith as justification for murder. The State will silence the critics with fines and threats of imprisonment if the believers will put away their guns, knives and bombs. These laws have nothing to do with stopping the spread of hatred and everything to do with the appeasement of the enemies of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
Archie: So they made a deal with the devil. Go figure.
Johnny: As human beings we have a right, and as citizens of a democracy an obligation to express an opinion on issues affecting our lives and the lives of our countrymen and women. That right, that obligation includes, must include questioning religious dogma. Of all human endeavors, religion has the greatest potential to change our lives for better or for worse. By giving all citizens the freedom to question the authenticity, the relevancy, the meaning and application of religious dogma we guard against the worse.
Archie: And these idiots did the exact opposite!
Johnny: Rather than tackling the worse head-on, the politicians in Britain and other countries which followed suit, accepted the fundamentalists’ argument that a lack of respect for Islam was at the root of the indiscriminate slaughter of men, women and children.
Archie: Criticism of the Prophet and his damn book was the excuse not the cause, everyone knows that.
Johnny: Then, except for the believers, not many people read the Koran and almost none the many equally incendiary sayings and example of the Prophet. Definitely not the politicians who voted crippling legislation into law which allowed Islam to spread its message almost unopposed. This Munich-like surrender to religious intolerance also proved that terrorism works, and that rewarding aggression, like at Munich, only encourages more of the same as other Western countries who adopted the British approach to combatting Islamic extremism soon discovered.
Archie: But we overcame Munich.
Johnny: We will not overcome our surrender to a new generation of fanatics, a capitulation which effectively neutered the most effective weapons against the spread of religious tyranny: freedom of expression and freedom of speech. This surrender is what has brought us to this point where we have religious vigilantes enforcing compliance with the new limits on freedom of speech and the craziness that is DDS.
Archie: But this guy who shot you was not a vigilante, was he?
Johnny: I don't know, but the police can't take the chance that Islamists who would like nothing better than to be martyred by cops will not seek revenge if they don't treat a co-extremist right. And, they know he has the DDS defense to fall back on if they arrest him; so why risk your life for nothing.
Archie: No wonder the cops fell over themselves to praise the guy.
Johnny: Just like the rest of us, they are afraid. Just like the media which masks its fear of offending the followers of the Religion of Truth by having hijab and niqab wearing women, of the now ubiquitous faith-in-your-face newscast, deliver the news if Islam is even remotely part of the story.
Archie: Religion of Truth. Who says?
Johnny: Allah, that's who!
Archie: So what's left to talk about that won't get you arrested or get you killed?
Johnny: Weather, sports maybe...
Archie: So, Johnny, nice weather we're having. Did you catch the game last night?