Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Burn the Qu'ran Day

Book burningImage via WikipediaI am not what you would call "politically correct."  Oh, sure, I can play the PC game when I need to, such as at work or around people that I don't know that well.  There are certain words or phrases that I will not use.  For example, I would be more upset if I heard my son use the N-word than if I heard him drop the F-bomb.  That being said, I usually fall down on the side of free speech and freedom of expression. 

I tend to consider the intent of the phraseology instead of the actual words.  It is for that reason that I am not that easily offended by off-color humor.  I have no problem with comedians like Chris Rock spouting off about "white people" in their routines, as I know the intent is humor, not to denigrate the white race.  People as a whole need to chill out a little bit in their desire not to offend.

I make these comments as a preface to my thoughts on Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Florida, and their plans to hold a "Burn the Qu'ran Day" on Saturday on the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Jones has been reported as saying that the event is to remember those who were murdered that day and to send a message to the radical elements of Islam.  The White House and General David Petraeus have come out warning that the event will put our troops at risk.

In this particular instance, I find myself in rare agreement with the White House that the event is not a good idea.  I do agree with the General that such actions will likely put our troops in greater risk for harm.  While a very valid concern on the part of General Petraeus and the White House, that is not the reason I am opposed to the burning of the Qu'ran.  It is not even the thought that the event will offend those that are not part of the extreme wing of the Islamic faith, though it surely will.  The fact that there have been few of the less extreme Muslims speaking out against the radicals is equally offensive.

Book Burning in and of itself has a long and ignoble history in the human era.  The Wikipedia entry for "Book Burning" begins by stating that "Book Burning is the practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media...The practice, usually carried out in public, is generally motivated by moral, religious, or political objections to the material."  The practice of Book Burning has been used from the 3rd century BC to modern times by secular and religious leaders as a means of suppressing views that could be considered heretical or a threat to the prevailing order.

It is the idea of book burning and the suppression of thought that is what I consider the most egregious part of Pastor Jones and his church's planned activities.  Sure they have the right to express their views, just as the folks who want to build the Ground Zero Mosque have a right to build where they want, but having the right to do something doesn't make it right.  It is also actions like those planned by Pastor Jones that give Evangelical Christianity a black eye.   
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  1. I found it especially ironic (and tragic) that the name of their church is the "Dove World Outreach Center." For the dove is supposed to be the symbol for peace--not hostility! Alas, their plans just serve as another example of evil being perpetrating in the name of our Heavenly Father, but be assured that it will be as it should be in the end.

  2. I was going to keep my mouth shut about all this, but I think you hit the nail on the head here. Even Jesus' one display of destruction (ok... except the fig tree) was only against people who were making wrong use of the temple. Hmmm... maybe I do have something to say here.

  3. Fish, I couldn't agree more, it is a shame and a sin

    Shark, Jesus often spoke of loving one's enemy, and turning the other cheek. I don't see this pastor doing either.



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