We honestly planned to offer up some insightful opinions about Niagara County this morning. That is, we intended to do so before we stumbled upon the following story:
A Muslim judge in Pennsylvania – who scolded a local atheist for offending Islam, called him a doofus and accused him of “using the First Amendment” to madden Muslims – dismissed harassment charges against the Muslim defendant who purportedly choked the atheist during a Halloween parade.
District Judge Mark Martin brought a Quran to court and told the alleged victim, American Atheists’ Pennsylvania State Director Ernest Perce V, “I think you misinterpreted a couple of things. So before you start mocking somebody else’s religion, you might want to find out a little more about it. It kind of makes you look like a doofus.”
The judge added, “I think our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to p— off other people and cultures – which is what you did.”
Okay, we’re Christians, and we find some of what the more vocal element of the atheist community doing these days to be offensive as well. Shutting down Christmas and Hanukkah displays, for instance. Really confrontational billboards that mock our religion. But never have we thought about physically assaulting atheists, in part because we’d expect any sitting judge—Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Jew—to throw our ass in jail if we did.
Apparently for Judge Martin, his own beliefs (multiple sources identify him as a practicing Muslim) trump that silly, dusty old piece of paper they wrote a few miles down the road in Philadelphia. We happen to have a copy, and we’re trying to find the part about the First Amendment being restricted if exercising it pisses people off. (Mind you, that amendment also protects freedom of religion—although, apparently not in Judge Martin’s courtroom.)
Instead of following the Constitution, though, Judge Martin takes a broad view, and ponders what would happen to the victim in other countries:
Talaag Elbayomy was charged with harassment, but District Judge Mark Martin threw it out after criticizing Perce, the victim, and even calling him a "doofus." The audio is also on YouTube.
So do we.