Certainly, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison never envisioned such a thing. Thomas Jefferson owned a copy of the Qur’an. You can be sure he read it.
Pastor Terry Jones probably has not, and he wants to burn them. Lots of them.
By now, most everybody in the World who has access to television, radio, or who does not live in a cave, knows that there will be a burning of Qur’ans held in the United States.
On September 11, 2010, which happens to be the ninth anniversary of the attack on the WTC in 2001, the ironically-named Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, will burn copies of the Muslim holy book.
Consider it a Bible burning, for it is no different in any way than if some group had decided to throw a bunch of Bibles into a fire.
Remember, if you will, the Nazi book-burnings of the 30s, or other burnings of books held before or since.
And ask yourself, is this America?
The church claims that the burning is “neither an act of love nor of hate” toward individual Muslims and that “We love, as God loves, all the people in the world and we want them to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
If someone told this to Christians, would they buy it? No, and you shouldn’t either. They almost admit it, in fact, saying that they’re doing it “to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful.”
So they don’t hate individual Muslims, but they hate their religion. So the message is: We don’t hate you, but we hate your religion and we’re going to burn you sacred book.
I’m a little fuzzy on how that’s meant to placate Muslims both here and abroad. I’m a little fuzzy too on how that message would placate members of the Dove World Outreach Center if an Islamic group held a similar Bible burning.
Can you imagine the outrage then?
The situation is so potentially explosive that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has condemned it, reports CNN. The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan called it, “disrespectful, intolerant and divisive.” According to a report by MSNBC, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is said to have called the planned burning “Idiotic and dangerous,” and CNN has also reported that General David Petraeus, “The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning that the demonstration “could cause significant problems” for American troops overseas.”
If US soldiers abroad must be braced for violence, the church itself seems to understand that their protestations of innocence will not be believed. Another report on CNN reveals that “Dove World Outreach Center Pastor Terry Jones has accepted the support of Right Wing Extreme, which he said offered to come to the church with between 500 and 2,000 men on September 11. He described the organization as an armed civilian militia group.”
It sounds like they’re planning not on a few demonstrators, but on a war. You would think the police could handle anything that comes up, but I suppose it’s more fun to shoot a few angry Muslims yourself should push come to shove. And they get to play with their guns.
“There is a need for this protection. It is absolutely necessary in light of the death and terror threats we have received,” Jones said in an e-mail to CNN.
Shades of Gomer Pyle: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! And do you wonder why you’ve received death and terror threats, Pastor Jones?
And while you are being protected by the police and your private army, have you given any thought to the life and safety of other Americans, including the 120,000 U.S. and NATO troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan? Fighting to protect the freedoms of people like you so you can get them killed?
Pastor Jones had something to say to Petraeus. On CNN’s “AC360.” he said, “The general needs to point his finger to radical Islam and tell them to shut up, tell them to stop, tell them that we will not bow our knees to them.”
Nobody can deny that Pastor Jones can demonstrate as much hate and intolerance as he would like by exercising his First Amendment right of free speech, but is this the way a civil society shows its disapproval, through acts of violence?
Reject what you claim is a message of hate by showing hate?
Back in 2009, Aljazeera reported that “Afghan police have fired into the air to break up a protest in Kabul by thousands of people who are condemning an alleged desecration of a copy of the Quran by foreign soldiers.”
You can easily imagine that if the alleged burning of one Qur’an led to violence what the burning of perhaps dozens or hundreds of Qur’an’s will do.
Aljazeera reported that “Thick plumes of smoke rose above the crowd as protesters set fire to a large effigy of what they said was Barack Obama, the US president.”
“Death to America. Down with Israel,” chanted one man at the rally, which was organised mainly by university students.
CNN reports that the founder of the hate posse which will protect the haters who are protesting hate, Right Wing Extreme founder Shannon Carson, said: “We fully support Dove World Outreach Center and its efforts to put an end to the notion that Islam is a peaceful religion. Islam is a violent cult with the goal of world domination.”
And nothing says Islam is a violent religion like a well-armed, conservative Christian rabble.
And as far as world domination goes, Christianity is still working towards that, with missionaries active on every corner of the earth’s surface. All Abrahamic monotheisms, incidentally, claim identical goals, that eventually “God” will destroy everyone who isn’t a believer and thus ensure world domination for its chosen religion. But then conservative Christians have never hesitated to dig deep into the well of hypocrisy when making their arguments.
To do them justice some Evangelicals have protested the burnings and CNN reports that “Religious leaders in Gainesville have planned an event billed as a “Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope” on September 10, in response to the church’s proposal.”
The New York Times reported today that dozens of events are planned in Gainesville, FL: “On Saturday, hundreds of local residents and visitors are expected to rally against Mr. Jones, an evangelical pastor, with signs containing messages like “Peace among religions leads to peace among nations.”
One pastor, Larry Reimer, points out that Pastor Jones only “represents only 30 people in this town.” But if the rumor of one American soldier desecrating one copy of the Qur’an can bring shouts of “Death to America” and riots, it’s pretty clear that the size of Pastor Jones’ congregation is irrelevant.
We are told that Jones has suggested that he and Abdul Rauf, the imam who wants to build the Islamic Cultural Center at 51 Park, near ground zero, get together to talk.
The meeting would be meant to negotiate a “peaceful resolution,” said a statement from Dove World Outreach Center on Tuesday.”
You can well imagine what Jones’ blackmail terms will be.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.