Plans to burn copies of the Koran this Saturday, in an event staged by Dr. Terry and Sylvia Jones, pastors of (the seemingly mis-named) Dove World Outreach Center, in Florida, are going forward. What part of Christianity this has any connection with is a mystery. I just read the announcement and their list of 10 “reasons” to do this on their web site. It’s at the same level of idiocy as the Middle Eastern and South Asian idiots who burn our flag and chant “Death To America”. Now we’ve got the facts. Both the Christian and Muslim faiths contain bigoted, bloody-minded trouble makers who would rather start a fight than bring any life to the teachings they claim are their inspiration. This transcends any one religion…. but there’s little comfort in it.
I don’t forget that burning the Koran is completely legal, protected, “speech”, as are maintaining idiotic views. Only incitement to immediate violence, and hate speech, are illegal. How close these bozos come to crossing either of those lines may be decided in court. But, as a general rule, burning some inanimate object that represents what you don’t like is as American as apple pie, and dates from before our nation was founded. Burning pictures, effigies, flags, books, records, CDs, periodicals, articles of clothing and government publications are time honored traditions. Long may they wave. Burning religious books is less common than burning non-religious works that are alleged to contain religious content.
Burning holy books of other people’s religions, for example, Korans, seems like a singularly poor plan. At its most fundamental, confusing the 19 9/11 suicide terrorists and their nut-job associates, enablers and guys who still live in caves, with the vast majority of Muslims, only gives aid and comfort to the nut jobs. More than anything, more than their hate and animosity toward us, bin-Laden and the rest want to be the arbitrators of what is Muslim and what is not. Their highest aspiration is to throw out the “liberals” that we know of as the Saudi royal family and put in some “old time religion”, as they define it. Particularly at Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. When someone tells the whole world that these losers are the true face of Islam, it is their dream come true. It’s what they want. And it’s what they use to recruit the pious, alienated and depressed to their cause.
To the second half of my headline, this building up of the al Qaeda viewpoint as the dominant force in Islam puts our men and women in uniform at risk much more than any of the spirited debate in this country about going to war in Iraq, . No-one can’t say how many jihadi’s were motivated by Code Pink or myself or Senator Obama arguing against the war in Iraq. (“Many in the United States oppose the war in Iraq and even in Afghanistan… would you like to become a suicide bomber?” is not a strong argument…) How stupid to you have to be to think burning Korans isn’t many, many, MANY times worse? Why is it our right wing goofballs seem to make common cause with jihadi right wing goofballs? Is the cock and bull patriotism they spout just so much hot air, and it’s really pan-national conservatism that they pledge their allegiance to ?
Does anyone else remember, in the days after 9/11/01, Patrick Buchanan and his ilk (Pat Robertson?) talking about how it was really the liberal’s fault that al Qaeda attacked us? After all, its the liberals, with their emphasis on women’s rights, multiculturalism, acceptance of gay, lesbian and trans-gender persons. and acceptance and support for religious and cultural minorities, that really made bin Laden and al Qaeda angry. If Buchanan, et al, has been able to institute a stiff, conservative, male dominated, alcohol-free, religiously schooled, GLT people back in the closet, state, with modest clothes, strong penalties for women having sex outside of marriage, civil society segregated by sex and no wild and immoral music, films, books or TV, well, obviously al Qaeda wouldn’t have attacked us,,, If we were just like the Taliban in Afghanistan!
Other reasons to not burn Korans:
Outside of the Southern and religious parts of the USA, book burning is most strongly associated with the Nazis, and to a lesser extent the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Neither exactly role models for our nation.
In the Southern and religious parts of the USA, book burning, record burning, etc, have a long history, with no notable accomplishments or benefits. Why reinforce failure?
The Dove World Outreach Center note that these are the ‘end times’ on their web site. Are public demonstrations by people who want the world to end in a conflagration which starts in the Middle East acting the best interests of our whole nation?
These tit-for-tat things never end well, whether its two siblings in the back seat on a long road trip, small nations weakening each other with ‘prestige’ wars, until an empire outside the neighborhood conquers them all, trade wars or vandalism inspired by school sports rivalry.
The essence of Christianity, we were taught as Catholics, is that Jesus Christ died for us, so that sins could be forgiven. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Vengance is mine, sayeth the Lord” are well known parts of the Christian New Testament, along with “Turning the other cheek” and the story of “The good Samaritan”. If Jesus had been big on burning books, we’d have heard about it. Love, forgiveness and compassion are the strengths of Christianity.
There is no more good in a Christian burning Korans than in some Muslim wacko burning Bibles; Hindu wackos burning the Sikh texts; Buddhist wackos burning the Hindu Bagivad Gita; Shinto wackos burning Buddhist texts; or Protestant “Orangemen” wackos marching through predominantly Catholic neighborhoods in Belfast or Derry. Its provocation, and unhelpful.