Thursday, September 9, 2010

Burning the Qur'an and other loathsome ideas

This idiotic leader of an extremist sect of socalled Christians in Florida is all set to burn a bunch of the holy books of Islam to commemorate the murder of Americans (some of them Islamic) by other religious extremists on September 11, 2001. Well, that sounds about par for the course for religious and political discourse in America these days. When the professional hater Glenn Beck can set himself up as the inheritor of the moral mantle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I suppose we should not be surprised by this man's audacity of dope.

Gen. David Petraeus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, various religious leaders, and now President Obama have spoken out against this charlatan's intended desecration. It has been pointed out that such actions play right into the hands of al Qaeda and other such extremists and will likely bring them more angry recruits eager to blow themselves up in some crowded American venue, taking innocent people who never considered burning a Qur'an along with them. It also makes the Taliban and their allies in Afghanistan that our military is trying to contain more determined than ever to resist and kill Americans. Is the preacher concerned about any of this? No, he's concerned about making a spectacle of himself and getting his image on TV and in newspapers. He says his god has told him to do this. If so, his god must be really bloodthirsty and I don't want to meet him.

So, the guy continues to appear on every "news" show on TV and his notoriety grows. But now he says he might be willing to rethink his plans if the President contacts him directly. Surprise, surprise.

Meantime, where are the Republicans in all of this? For the most part, they are seen and heard equating the burning of a holy book with the building of an Islamic Community Center in New York. Nearly all absolutely refuse to condemn this man and his attention-grabbing stupidity.

What do people in other countries make of all this? I think it must be extremely difficult for people in different cultures to understand that in our country people actually do have the right to burn books or to spew hateful speech if they want to. That is their constitutionally protected right of free speech. The fact that it is an utterly stupid, non-productive, and self-defeating way to behave is completely beside the point.

My dearest hope is that now that this despicable person has had his 15 minutes of fame he will fade back into the anonymity that he so richly deserves and let the rest of us get on with our lives.

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