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    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

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To Burn, or Not to Burn…

Posted by The Curmudgeon on September 9, 2010

Once again, national angst builds—with Mohammed (again) the focus

Like many, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Reverend Terry Jones’ planned demonstration featuring the burning of Korans. Having considered it at length, I’ve reached one conclusion: I have mixed feelings about it—and this ambivalence will never be resolved.

On the one hand, I fall back on the default of freedom of religion and worship, and I cringe at the prospect of book-burning. It’s easy to understand how some would equate such an act to the Nazis’ heinous and destructive campaign against Jews. It’s easy to understand concerns that such a spectacle might focus hatred on a group based on their beliefs. It’s easy to understand why military commanders express concerns that our forces stationed in the Muslim world might be exposed to danger as Muslims’ ire is inflamed. It’s easy to understand why so many have felt compelled to distance themselves from the planned event, and to add their voices to the widespread condemnation of Rev. Jones.

On the other hand…

If one chooses to burn a U.S. flag, it’s considered “freedom of expression”—and likely to attract protection from legions of civil-rights attorneys. If a band of lunatics disrupts funeral services for a fallen soldier, the court not only affirms their right to do so, but requires the soldier’s family to pay the legal costs incurred by the loonies in defending that right. And where was the compulsion for widespread condemnation when Palestinians took to the streets in celebration even as the twin towers of the World Trade Center were still falling?

Here’s another thought: For those who may have forgotten, a shipment of Bibles was confiscated and burned by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan last year amid concerns that there might be an appearance of soldiers’ attempting to convert the local population to Christianity. In criticizing the action, a Pentagon spokesman remarked (perhaps a bit prophetically) that “There is no need to burn the Bibles. They could have been shipped back.” (I’ll add emphasis to the rest of his comment.) “Just imagine if we, the same the United States military, were to take a bunch of Korans and burn them. I can imagine the ramifications across the world.”

Indeed, soldiers assigned to the detention center in Guantanamo have been criticized for allegedly (no proof emerged) showing some measure of disrespect for the Koran (those allegations having been made, by the way, by detainees who routinely hurl their urine and feces at the staff). More recently, we’ve been bombarded with angry denunciations by Muslims for newspaper cartoons in Europe that were seen as criticisms of Islam. Still fresh is the memory of the brouhaha that resulted when the Comedy Central channel capitulated to Muslim demands over a South Park episode making fun of Mohammed.

It’s clear that a dangerous precedent has been set—and it’s being perpetuated. It seems that anything that might by any stretch of the imagination be misinterpreted by a Muslim as offensive draws criticism. It appears, in fact, to be the latest manifestation of censorship that began during the days of civil rights marches, when whites suddenly became aware of the need to choose every word very carefully just to avoid even the appearance of racism. It’s had the practical effect of creating an environment wherein Muslims anywhere in the world can now dictate behavior by whim—merely by suggesting that some unrest might result if we don’t take heed.

It is at its base a strategy intended to spread fear and force acceptance—and it’s working. Moreover, each case that sees someone appear to back-down in the face of such charges serves both to progressively embolden radical Muslim elements and to bolster the validity of their approach.

At this point, we might stop asking what may happen if Rev. Jones goes through with his planned Koran-burning event—and ask instead what may result if he doesn’t.




7 Responses to “To Burn, or Not to Burn…”

  1. LarryZ said

    It is beyond reprehensible that we have come to this in our country! Bending over backwards to appease anyone and everyone who opposes our very core values and fundemental Christian values. (Yes CHRISTIAN !!! I said it and I believe it!)My question is this…Where did our
    collective spine go? Where is our national BACKBONE????I, for one will be glad to see the sleeping giant awakened, if it still posssible.

  2. Lynne Z said

    I dunno, Larry – seems to me the “sleeping giant” is in a coma these days. The Imam determined to have his mosque near Ground Zero demonstrates extreme insensivity … the Florida preacher shows extreme insensitivity. Yet the biggest outcry, inc. from our Dear Leader and the Secretary of State (who brought human right violations against Arizona to the United Nations) is against the preacher. In fact, most ultra-libs seem determined to assist the imam in erecting a monument to Islamic victory, ala Cordoba. This dang tolerance has undermined the very peace it was designed to achieve.

    Wrong is right and right is wrong.

  3. Donna C said

    Well, Curmudgeon, I am totally with you on the mixed feelings…

    A good idea may be that before anyone burns the Koran, that they read it first! Then one might discover that Muslims, Jews and Christians all consider Abraham to be the father of their religions and share some of the basic foundational monotheistic thought patterns.

    However, the Jews and Christians descend from A’s second son, Isaac and the Muslims from his first son, albeit illegitimate and adopted, Ishmael.

    As I recall, the prophecy around all of this is that Ishmael was promised to have many descendants but who would live in hostility with all of their brothers.

    Question is this… does one want to actively inflame the fight with his brother (sorry for the bad pun) or adopt a more tolerant approach… (Lynne Z, maybe they should make that mosque an interfaith center. Now that would be real tolerance on all sides, eh?)

    And then again, I have never backed down from a fight with a bully. Ergo, ambivalence.

    Here in Mexico, there is a saying… “A bad agreement is better than a good fight.” Whatcha think?

    • Here in Mexico, there is a saying… “A bad agreement is better than a good fight.” Whatcha think?

      No wonder Mexico is such a hellhole. My Scottish ancestors had a better philosophy and sayings:

      “For so long as one hundred men remain alive, we shall never under any conditions submit to the domination of the English. It is not for glory or riches or honours that we fight, but only for liberty, which no good man will consent to lose but with his life.” —– The Declaration of Arbroath, 1320

      “Better to keep the devil out, than to have to put him out.”

  4. I too have an aversion to book burning however, it matters very much who it is that is threatening to burn korans. The Drudge Report headlines announce Reverend Jones has company. There’s also the Westboro Baptist Church now making the same threat as well as an individual in Wyoming claiming he’ll burn a koran on the steps of Wyoming’s state capitol building tomorrow. None of these people are agents of government or law enforcement. They are private individuals. They aren’t threatening to burn mosques or places where korans are sold. They are talking of destroying personal property that they own – something all of us have every right to do. The manner they choose to do it might be problematic. Many local ordinances prohibit bonfires and certainly burning a book – any book – on the steps of a public building could be considered a hazard, but I applaud those who believe that Islam itself is the enemy of freedom. Anyone who actually READS the koran knows that it is a doctrine of Muslim supremacy that refers to Jews as pigs and monkeys and considers Christians inferior. Human slavery is explicitly endorsed in the koran. To this day, muslims in Sudan and Mauritius have Black slaves.

    The “Little Green Book” you show is itself a matter of controversy and is believed to be a distortion of Khomeini’s Little Blue Book. Mark Steyn explains it all: The Shagged Sheep

    • The Mrs.... said

      Part of your comment brought a thought to mind…

      “Human slavery is explicitly endorsed in the koran. To this day, muslims in Sudan and Mauritius have Black slaves.”

      Today, many blacks and organizations are crying out for reparations (the first time in history in any nation that former slaves didn’t just assimilate into the general population)and won’t let any of us live down something that happened some time ago that none of us took part in. (Not much is mentioned of the fact that blacks captured and sold blacks into slavery.) Regardless, a very large portion of Americans that convert to Islam is black. African American prisoners have an extremely large percentage of converts. I have to wonder if they are aware of the fact that they are embracing a religion that still has and endorses black slavery? (whilst they continue to get angry at us for past slavery)

      • It’s interesting that American Blacks so infuriated over American history of slavery display so much ignorance in regard to the historical record. Mrs. Obama for example, seems to greatly admire Spaniards. Yet it was Spain who engaged in the slave trade in a grand scale, populating much of South America with Africans to grow sugarcane. Spanish and Portuguese slaves endured tremendous hardship and indignities compared to slaves purchased by American colonists. The average life expectancy of a Spanish or Portuguese slave was less than 5 years.

        Here in America, slaves were expensive and treated as valuable property. They usually received better treatment than the Irish Famine immigrants who paid for their passage by selling themselves as indentured servants on plantations – usually for about 5 years. Because slaves were valuable for much longer than 5 years, they generally had better living conditions, food, and medical care than their counterpart indentured servants who gained their freedom (if they survived) the duration of their contracts. We don’t see any movements for reparations to descendants of indentured servants probably because these people understand how lucky they are to have benefitted from the sacrifices of their ancestors. It would be nice if Black Americans – who have the highest standard of living for Blacks anywhere in the world – recognized that they too, are the beneficiaries of their ancestors’ misfortunes.

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