Even conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly has weighed in on the issue of San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve naming his dog "Muhammad," after the Muslim prophet. Reeve said he did it as a lesson in free speech.
O'Reilly's response: "Free speech issues aside, Mr. Reeve is a pinhead," O'Reilly said during the short "pinhead and patriots" segment his Fox News show. "Why offend Muslims if you don't have to? You wanna teach your children about tolerance there are plenty of others way to do it."
And Frank Mickadeit, the OC Register's columnist, has weighed in, too. He attended Tuesday's meeting. His take:
First, was his stated reason for naming one of his dogs Muhammad – teaching his children the meaning of free speech – completely sincere? Did he name his dog something he knew would offend some Muslims because it was necessary to make a point? Or does he mainly just want to offend Muslims?
According to Patch.com, after the Sept. 6 council meeting, he wrote a blog piece for Patch talking about how his two dogs got their names. In the original blog, he wrote:
"While playing with our family's two new Basset Hounds, Muhammad and America (Muhammad is the bitch), I was thinking ..."
But this part of his post was removed a short time later. In response to another reader's inquiry about its disappearance, Patch editor Jenna Chandler wrote that "(Reeve) wrote to me to say he had intended to delete that part of the blog post, and wasn't sure how it remained in our queue. In fairness to him, we deleted it from this story."
So, if Reeves' naming of his dog was also something of a statement – essentially, Muhammad is America's bitch – that would seem to belie his public statement that it was all about freedom of speech. It would be evidence of the insensitivity and mean-spiritedness his critics allege."
Frank followed up with another column:
"My column yesterday about San Juan City Councilman Derek Reeve naming his dog Muhammad mostly examined the corrupt logic and false sincerity behind his reasoning: he said he was teaching his children a free-speech lesson. Many Muslims consider dogs foul.
It's bad enough you have a politician so consumed by ideology that he gins up some illogical reason to mask what's really going on. That kind of thinking can have spillover into all sorts of policy-setting arenas, so it is worth noting for the future. But what I failed to address, for space reasons, was the very real and immediate impact of his hurtful words within the lovely city of San Juan.
Mayor Sam Allevato wrote me:
"We employ Muslim workers, who were offended by the statement, especially in the manner it was delivered. Who is to speak for them? They won't speak up for themselves as they obviously fear retaliation. I know that a 'hostile work environment' has to be a pervasive culture or pattern of behavior within an organization. But could not a 'pattern' of a hostile work environment begin with one statement made by the highest ranking member of the city?"
SJC is so on notice now, I'd be shocked if you ever heard another slur, but in theory, he's right. More practically, Reeve demoralized a group of employees, and without a real apology that will linger."