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Burning Korans

§ September 8th, 2010 § Filed under Mad Mad Mad World, Religion § Tagged , , , , , , § No Comments

Gainesville Uber Alles!

I was watching my brain while it wrapped itself around the Koran-burning story in Florida. (Some pastor at a Gainesville church wants to have a booking-burning featuring the Koran as the main source of fuel.)

My first thought was…

What kind of a nut burns books in the modern age? Doesn’t this guy know that book-burning and Nazism are two peas in the same rotten pod? Or if not Nazis, some other group of extremists who can’t stomach living in a world where Catcher in the Rye is allowed to warp the minds of our cherubic youth?

 But book-burners are usually too crazy or dense to see how crazy or dense they are.

 Then I thought…

Technically, you should be able to burn a Koran – if you own it. Of course, same goes for bibles, Books of Mormon, Bhagavad-Gitas, and American flags for that matter. You’re probably not going to win any popularity contests, but publicly destroying an icon that is revered by large groups of enthusiasts should not be against the law – anywhere.  It might be risky. It might be in bad taste. But against the law? No. That minority opinion must be allowed to be expressed is a hallmark of our constitutional democracy.

 So…maybe we could have a bible-burning across the street. What a riot that would be – literally. (A guy once told me he smoked his bible. He said the thin pages made good rolling paper.)

But then I read that General David Petraeus, our top military man in Afghanistan, said that torching Korans might further motivate devout Muslims to kill our citizens — both here and in the Middle East…

That’s all our servicemen and women need – some fool over here trying to fill his contribution box in his cozy little church in Florida while they’re ducking extra bullets and IEDs because of him. Pastor Pyro gets all the press and they get all the heat from it. Thanks a lot pal.

Now I’m thinking…

It’s one thing to criticize a Koran (a bible, any sacred text). It’s another thing to burn it or piss on it. The former is born out of disagreeing with – even challenging – an idea, while the latter is just a provocation. In this (Florida) case, the guy doing the provoking is probably not the guy who’ll have to deal with the backlash.

Ultimately, burning Korans in Florida is just an act of bravado, and ultimately of cowardice. Destroying a book never refutes the ideas inside. It just exposes the person doing the burning as hate-filled, insecure, and short-sighted.