I'm not going to engage in the discussion of this actual book because I think all sides of the argument are well-addressed in the posts of others. I know that Sherry Jones had a contract, and that her publisher bowed down to the threats of violence to remove it from their publishign schedule. I'm not talking about that here, but I am going to put in a note about freedom of speech though, because it is so often misunderstood. I first posted this as a comment on G. Willow Wilson's blog, but I wanted it to get more exposure.
You can't support freedom of speech "to a point." You do, or you don't. The former is supporting an ideal, the latter is supporting an ideal insofar as it meets your own personal standard, which is setting yourself above others to make their choices for them.
My first published novel was titled "This is My Blood." I studied most of my late teen years for the ministry. As I grew older, my thoughts on faith, and in particular my thoughts on organized religion, changed. When I wrote "This is My Blood," I knew many would see it as blasphemous. I also knew that I had a message to get through.
I chose to tell the story of the gospel through the eyes of someone who did not require faith, but knew for a fact that the story was utterly true. I wrote it through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, who I characterized as a fallen angel, raised to temp Jesus. Instead - she fell at his feet and wanted to return to Heaven.
None of this is important, except to say that this book was published. More than once, and recently it was published in Italy, right down the street from Vatican City. I am glad to have my freedom of speech, because a fundamentalist Christian control over that freedom would no doubt have silenced the work.
Did I handle it well? Some think so - the reviews would indicate I did - but that is not the point. The point is, I have the right to say what I want to say, and if I can find a publisher, to publish those words. No group, no religion, political party, fraternity, or slice of society has the right to deny me that freedom.
The cost of that freedom is reciprocation. When I see hate-filled men and women screaming about race and religion, I turn away. I address things in my own way, but I do not call out to the government, or the church, for someone to silence them. Their right to freedom of speech is also MY right to freedom of speech, and the moment somone begins picking and choosing where that right exists, and where it does not, is the moment it is no longer a right at all.
So...flawed, correct, appropriate, or not, I am very disappointed in the publisher's decision - not because I disagree with their right not to publish a work submitted to them, but because they allowed someone's voice to be (albeit temporarily) muted by the very sort of tactics those who deal in fear employ every day.
It wasn't pulled from the publication schedule out of respect for someone's religious beliefs, but out of fear of violence. It is fine to be outraged over someone else's work, but it is not fine to impose your own standard as law over them, threaten them, or bully them into silence.
Freedom of speech is a right we have to guard selfishly, and often in areas and ways we find distasteful, or it will be gone.
So many of us would be silent then you'd hear pins dropping all over.