Yesterday the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi was attacked by rioting Libyan Muslims. The crowd rioted because an anti-Islamic movie was released in our country called “Innocence of Muslims.” This movie apparently includes caricatures of the Islamic prophet, Mohammed, and any caricature of Mohammed is extremely offensive to devoted Muslims.

Before being overrun, our embassy issued the following official statement:

We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

Now keep in mind this statement was not a personal expression of disagreement with the producers of the anti-Islamic movie. It was an official declaration of American government policy.  But our federal government cannot “firmly reject” actions that our federal Constitution wholeheartedly endorses. Amendment I of our Constitution plainly restricts our federal government from “abridging the freedom of speech.” And that includes speech hurtful or offensive to the religious beliefs of others. This axiom is foundational to American law and American society.

Had the embassy considered our Constitutional principles and taken its time to accurately prepare a statement, perhaps the official statement would have read as follows:

We affirm the freedom of those who exercise the universal right of free speech, even if such speech hurts the religious beliefs of others.

In contrast, the official statement was not only a trite bromide, it was simply false.  Our government, of course, had done nothing to prevent the promulgation of the anti-Islamic film. The crowd knew this, continued to riot, and four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, were cut down with rockets by the mob.

The fact of the matter is that these four Americans gave their lives in support of the principles of free speech affirmed in our cherished federal Constitution. But consider this travesty: the statement issued by our embassy could have just as easily been issued by the Libyan rioters.

We owe it to our fallen Americans to correct the embassy’s patently false statement.