08 September 2010

Koran cook-out

Pastor Terry Jones of Florida has achieved considerable notoriety with his plan to commemorate September 11 by burning Korans, a plan which he still insists will proceed despite objections from no less than General Petraeus that violent Muslim reactions could endanger American soldiers in Islamic countries and complicate their mission there. In this he echoes the backers of the Ground Zero mosque, who are also determined to push ahead despite the offense and pain that their plans will cause to the overwhelming majority of Americans who stand opposed.

As I have said before, the Ground Zero mosque controversy is strikingly analogous to the case of the American Nazis' notorious attempt to march through Skokie in the 1970s. It's an outrageous provocation and a display of utter contempt for human feelings that should have been respected -- but the First Amendment's verdict is clear.

Jones's case is somewhat different. The feelings of people who would threaten violence in response to a mere symbolic act of desecration obviously deserve no respect whatsoever, and the very concept of considering anything "sacred" is an insult to the intelligence. Nevertheless, if Jones had an atom of decency, he would abandon his plan in deference to the US military's concerns about its possible repercussions for American troops overseas. But if he refuses, the First Amendment is clear. He is expressing a viewpoint, not threatening others or their property.

It is precisely for such cases that the protections of the First Amendment are needed. The First Amendment is for people like the American Nazis, Pastor Jones, Imam Abdul-Rauf, Fred Phelps, pornographers, etc. Expression which does not shock or offend anyone has no need of any special protection.

If Jones had any decency he would not go through with his Koran cook-out. If Abdul-Rauf had any decency, he would abandon the Ground Zero mosque plan. If the American Nazis had had any decency, they would not have tried to march through Skokie. Since evidently those parties lack any such decency, they must be allowed to express their views.

Make no mistake: the moment we compromise on freedom of expression because the said expression shocks and outrages somebody -- especially if it's because the shocked and outraged party is threatening violence -- freedom of expression vanishes, and we are under the dominion of the thug and the bully.

If there is violence in response to the Koran-burning (which would not be surprising -- recall the riots over the Danish Muhammad cartoons, and the threats against PZ Myers over a stupid cracker), then the responsibility for that violence rests entirely with the people who are committing it, not with Pastor Jones. The same applies to the Ground Zero mosque, of course. Given the level of hostility the project has already provoked, it wouldn't surprise me if the damn thing is firebombed a week after it opens. But if that happens, the fault will lie entirely with the person who throws the bomb, not with Imam Abdul-Rauf.

Our commitment to freedom of expression is sometimes tested in ways which outright repel us. But there are principles which no American worthy of the name can compromise on. This is one of them.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Tim said...

Well I couldn't agree more. We were never made as a Country to be Governed by Mob rule. If that were the case we would still have segregation. As much as this sickens me, the snake wrangler must be allowed to do the deed. This much I would say, perhaps he crossed that line of Church and State and now should have to start paying taxes. Hmm I huge audit may be in his future.

08 September, 2010 05:35  
Blogger tnlib said...

This sub-human only has 50 members in his so-called church. If the MSM hadn't given him so much attention, most people wouldn't even know about it. As I said elsewhere, free advertising for him and bad publicity for our country.

08 September, 2010 07:55  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Well worded Infidel! heh, heh, heh, heh, heh ... you should have been an attorney or politician. :)

There has been alot of coverage of this man ... I suspect he will be Mr.Evil at least a few week's if that long, until some other subject come's up. As far as troop's in danger ... are they not in danger anywayz? I mean even in the last week ... an Iraqi soldier, one we trained of course, killed an American soldier and wounded other's, as happened with many of these shitbag nation's we have catered too over the year's, after we help, they burn our flag's and shit on us basically. Of course it is not so popular as burning a book. Who can muslim's blame? Well ... you can start with Mr. bin Laden for one, then add to the list. This preacher man has been sounding recently very hesitant on doing this in a few interview's I seen, saying now, they are talking it over with Jesus or whatever, praying and other trash, so who know's if he will actually do what he said. I myself have never burned a book in my life, or plan to, and I have some of the most hated book's too! :) Is it right/ wrong, good/ evil? it is what it is ... I reckon I look at it as more action/ reaction. Yes ... in Islam .. it is taken very seriously, as christian's of 400/500 year's ago would be to burn a book of their's. Historically christianity and islam have had a parallel evolution cause islam is the same way christianity was at it's age, since christianity is approx 400/ 500 year's older than islam. Both of these religion's are nauseating in their own way.... as well as both of their rule book's ... yes ... at least unlike many, I have read both, and know their histories fairly well.

Decency? WTF is that? :)

Anywayz ... great posting indeed Guy!

08 September, 2010 10:48  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

I think you nailed it well, Infidel 753. The First Amendment is paramount. I'll say this about Terry Jones and all who support him on this reckless little venture: these are short-sighted and ignorant people who place their own childish desire to say "take THAT, Muslims!" far in front of the more important need to spare American lives and build support among moderates in the Middle East. These are rash, stupid people with no concept of what it's like in the outside world.

08 September, 2010 12:13  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Tim: The time is long past due for the tax-exempt status of the many politicized churches to be re-examined. Unfortunately, the same cowardly deference to religion which makes so many people treat Islam with kid gloves will make it very difficult to do that.

TNLib: Funny how a sub-human leader of a tiny fringe church could know just what buttons to push to manipulate the MSM into making him famous, don't you think?

RC: A lawyer actually once told me that I should have been a lawyer.

The thought of burning books -- even a book of bigotry and hate like the Koran -- makes me viscerally uncomfortable, because of the history of where such behavior normally leads.

I know nothing of Pastor Jones's social views, but most likely his mentality is much more similar to Islam's than to mine.

JJ: I still think it's possible that Jones may change his mind at the last moment after extracting maximum publicity from the event. In the meantime, just about every major figure in American politics, from Obama to Palin, is on record as being against what he's doing -- so hopefully at least a few Muslims will realize that it's an act of one person and not of the country. Unfortunately, the ones who are rational enough to grasp that point aren't the ones we have to worry about in the first place.

09 September, 2010 05:36  

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