Equivalence? Er, no

A lone Christian nut has issued a death threat to a Swedish newspaper editor for running an editorial cartoon depicting the devil defecating on Jesus. Middle East Online reports that Ola Sigvardsson has interpreted some angry e-mails as threats, and one suggested that Jesus would ensure that his throat gets slit. It proves that nutcases come in all stripes — but it hardly provides an equivalence to the worldwide paroxysm of violence that accompanied the Mohammed cartoons, as some suggest:

The head of a Swedish newspaper has received death threats after publishing a drawing of the devil defecating on Jesus, he said Tuesday.

“I have been exposed to various threats … and I have interpreted several of them as death threats,” said Ola Sigvardsson, editor in chief for Ostgota Correspondenten daily.

He said one person had left a message saying he wanted to see the editor’s throat slit and that “if no one dealt with it, then Jesus would do it”.

Let’s get the preliminaries out of the way. Of course Christians have their individual lunatics. No one has ever argued otherwise. Threatening death to someone over the publication of a cartoon practically defines the notion of lunacy and mindless zealotry. Anyone sending such threats to Sigvardsson should get themselves fitted for a tight-fitting jacket with extra long sleevers or at least get sent to prison for a while.

However, Cernig at Newshoggers argues that “Malkinites” (including me, I suppose) will refuse to see the equivalence between this and the reaction to the Danish publication of the Mohammed cartoons. Guilty as charged. All due respect to Cernig, whose writing I enjoy even though I often disagree with the arguments, but there is a vast difference of scale. Christians, for instance, have not murdered people in riots over the publication of these cartoons. Embassies have not gone under the torch throughout the Christian world. Government officials have not put a price on Sigvardsson’s head for blasphemy.

And while death threats from isolated nutcases are bad enough, Sigvardsson hasn’t had Christians forming terrorist cells to finish him off.

This is all part of a moral-relativity game that some like to play. Somehow, one lone nutcase in the West equates to millions of people rioting, calling for beheadings, and torching embassies in demonstrations that Middle Eastern nations not given to a love of free expression strangely tolerated for the issue of the Mohammed cartoons. Such thinking reflects a willing ignorance that reflects poorly on its adherents.