The minister in Florida who wants to have a burn the Quran day on September 11 says he won’t back down from doing it and I say good for him! It is his constitutional right to burn copies of the Quran, the religious book of Muslims. Let’s not forget we live in a country where it is the right of any American to burn the US flag, and we all remember the turmoil reaching that decision caused America. It is one of the “hazards” of living in a free society; protested speech against patriotic or religious symbols is not illegal. American Muslims more than any other group, should understand that, and should register their disagreement with the burning of Qurans act,with thoughtful and or provocative editorials like this one , or planned peaceful protests like this, for even though what Jones wants to do is legal it is morally reprehensible. That’s as far as his opponents should take it, however.
It is this type of dissent Muslims should expect from those who oppose their building of a masjid near the site of the former WTC buildings; one may disagree with the building of the Cordoba House at Park 51, and may protest the building going up there, however it is the right of the supporters of that project, codified by the legal authorities responsible, for the house to be built there and Cordoba House’s supporters should proceed with resolve to see it through even during times of intense opposition to it AND the opponents should resign themselves to the inevitability of its completion . What will then become a true battle of ideas a distinction between those who oppose book burning versus those who oppose a religious house of worship will be how the different groups express their opposition and accept the rule of law. In other words, the behavior of the opposition will have more of an impact on the public debate about the presence of Islam in America than the action which spurs that opposition. America will have to choose between those who promote racist, stereotypical, violent reaction to protected speech and religious freedom and those whose opposition is principled, respectful or thoughtful.
Given America’s past inclination to mob/racist rule the outcome is not so certain and definitely not in the near future. One of the reasons why we must have this frank discussion about race in this country is because the racist template we’ve set for ourselves over the years allows us to insert whatever group of the day we want to hate into it and then hurl invective and discriminatory actions at them which we try to make into law to suppress them. We still have not managed to steer clear of this disease because we haven’t really tried to cure it. Saddle up America, here we go again; we’re in for another protracted campaign for the soul of this country.
Jones did back down and if anyone can understand the reasons why he did so, please explain them to me. The man who claimed to have received messages from God is unfathomable, sick, crazy in the head and one as intimately familiar with him as his own daughter has come out and said so. There’s even mention of a mental disorder here as well. Why we, citizenship media as well as corporate media gave him so much of our time, bandwidth and news print is one of the mysteries of life. A “pastor” with a minuscule congregation of about 50 managed to hold the entire world hostage with his delusions of grandeur and his fear injected venom which paralyzed a nation, diverted its attention from a more pressing national agenda than his personal dementia and left us, after his ‘never mind’ moment feeling used and abandoned from it all. We deserve it….we put in way too much time feeding the ego of a man whose ego is as large as any other megalomaniac or larger, being called by a US Army general, the Secretary of Defense, the FBI, the NYC police chief and countless others who otherwise wouldn’t give you the time of day can be very gratifying, but what did all of that give us, the People? It revealed for us that dark side of our collective nature that loves to be frightened and angered; it allowed the haters in our midst to feed us their daily ration of hatred and loathing for “others” who are really “we”, “us”. Someone wrote on their headline, ‘Florida Pastor Makes National Jackass of Himself’….and my answer would be no he didn’t. He made jackasses out of us.
- Pastor’s new tune: Church will never burn Quran (salon.com)