Burning Korans and Building Mosques
The interweb thingy and talk radio is all abuzz about Florida pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville to hold a Koran burning ceremony on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Been hearing about this most of the day, specifically, how General Davis Petraeus has come out stating that if the event takes place, it can inflame the passions in Muslim countries and put American troops in more danger.
“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort,” Gen. Petraeus said in an interview. “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”
I’m not one that normally looks at book-burning as a good thing. Never understood the point, to be honest. The books you are tossing on the pile have been purchased, by someone, and the author has already received payment. The same hold true for records, or “offensive” T-shirts, you name it.
I’m of the opinion that no book should be banned, except for ones personal tastes. There are some minor exceptions, of course, having to do with appropriateness; for example, one would not want to stock the Kama Sutra in an elementary school library.
I can somewhat understand the point the Reverend is trying make. He probably feels that he is making a statement that Americans will not submit to Muslim intimidation, something that I actually agree with. More likely, though, is the massive amount of free publicity he has just gotten for his 50-some-odd members.
Of course, Jones has the right do whatever he wishes with his property, in this case, a Koran that he purchased. Just like the Bible, though, it is simply a book. Destroying a copy of either one will not negate what it says or the ideas it puts forth. At the same time, it will not ‘convert’ anyone who is offended by the action, either one. In fact, it would likely have the opposite effect.
Many will (rightly) point out that no one seems to care when there is someone offensive committed against Christianity, such as a display of “art” showing a crucifix in a jar of urine or the stage productions portraying Jesus as gay. No one disputes the right of people to do those things, and in fact, tax money even goes to support some of those things through the National Endowment for the Arts.
Here’s something I find a little disturbing about this particular situation, though:
The State Department described as “un-American” plans by a controversial church to burn Korans in memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks — though the head of that church says he is not deterred.
Exercising First Amendment Rights is “Un-American?” I thought the one who is actually running the State Department once famously said, or rather, shrieked “We are Americans, and we have the right to debate, and disagree, with any Adminstration?”
At the same time, government officials at all levels are falling all over themselves to talk about how wonderful a Mosque would be in lower Manhattan, just blocks from the site of the attacks. Of course, they have the right to build any lawful structure or business on private property. Is it in poor taste, possibly inflammatory, exactly as the Koran burning party will be? Absolutely.
Believe me, if they wanted to, New York, or any other government agency could shut down that Mosque in a New York minute, if you’ll pardon the expression. Recently, a gentleman wanted to open a sort of youth center, more like a teenager nightclub, in a small town just outside of Kansas City. You know, sodas, pool tables, dances, and video games sort of thing. On practically opening night, it comes out the gentleman in question has direct ties to White Supremacist organizations. Lo and behold, the city suddenly found some permit form wasn’t filled out properly, or some such nonsense. And it was permanently shut down.
There is probably so much red tape and bureaucratic hurdles to jump in New York, there are probably several levels the “Mosque” could be shut down at. Not saying they should, even though I personally believe they want it there as a symbol of “victory.” Look at other places in the world they have attacked, and a pattern emerges.
I think the good Reverend Jones is playing with fire here, and most likely pulling a publicity stunt. He is, of course, free to carry out his plan. I honestly don’t think its a good idea. Many will disagree with me, which is also your right. But in no way should government try to stop him from doing it.
One of the articles liked above stated he didn’t get an approval from the fire department. That is one thing, and leads to public safety. If he left that jurisdiction, went out into the country somewhere, it would be just like a good ol’ Saturday night bonfire, and I’m certain there is probably someone who would welcome him and his congregation.
I will be livid, though, if it comes to pass later that the Justice Department, or any other entity for that matter, starts trying to press some sort of “Hate Crimes” or “Civil Rights Violations” court case against him. If that happens, you will find me 110% behind Reverend Jones. Until then, however, I still think it’s an idea in poor taste.