The authors of this piece on controversy over icons/symbols/representations of figures considered holy to Christianity posit that violence is not unheard of in the United States over these issues. They conclude:
Images of the sacred haven’t caused mass violence in the United States, but they have generated intense conflict. Our ability to sustain a culture supersaturated with visual displays of the divine, largely without violence, came only after massive technological change, centuries of immigration and social movements that forced Americans to reckon with differences of race, ethnicity and religion.
The thing is, I know of no one who objects to controversy – people reacting to things that upset them is part of society. Everyone I know objects to the violence involved in Muslim protests of representations of figures considered by them to be holy.
Go ahead and protest speech you don’t like – controversy like that is fine. Controversy can even be good is it results in society (not government) censoring hateful, gross people like the KKK. Just don’t get violent about what upsets you or expect governing bodies to make certain types of speech illegal. The way I see it is small children hit and kick and bite in response to things they don’t like while adults “use their words.” Can we use our words, everyone? Please?
Anyone else notice that the authors seem to skip about a century in their brief history? It goes from violence before the US existed to people getting upset and defacing art many many years after the US became a country.