September 9, 2010

Jackassery All Around

So the Dove World isn't going to be burning Korans after all. Not to fear! Westoboro Baptist Church is stepping up to the plate! Korans will be roasted on 9/11!

Sheesh. Jackassery all around.

No, burning Korans is not the same as building an Islamic cultural center near the site of the World Trade Centers. Burning Korans is an act of marginalization, an act of hate. Building an Islamic cultural center is a bid for acceptance. There is not an equivalence.

Both acts are protected. If assholes want to burn Korans, we can't stop them. Anyone can build a church anywhere zoning permits.

We should expect counter protests from the Muslim world. One good protest deserves another. Burn some Korans, they'll burn some bibles, or some American flags, everyone will have a good time, then they'll go home. No harm, no foul.

Perhaps some more extreme Muslims will go further. General Petraeus says that it could put American lives in danger. Is that Pastor Jones fault? No, even if it is a foreseeable consequence of his hateful action, a response beyond all measure can not be a legitimate part of the equation. Burn some bibles, sure. Killing people? That's not on him, that's on the killers. We lefties come down on the Israelis for the murderous response against the Turkish aid vessel trying to breach the blockade of Palestine, but the aid vessel was bent on confrontation, and they got it. The Israeli response was provoked . . . beyond all measure, but provoked. In the same way, we can't blame the bible freaks if Islamo-fascists kill anyone over the Koran burning.

We also, as progressives, can't continue to let nutjobs like Terry Jones and Fred Phelps stand as representatives for Christianity while we continue to differentiate between violent, radical Muslims and the mainstream of the Islamic faith. We can in no way find it "understandable" that a Muslim would be driven into a homicidal rage by the burning of a Koran, while not tolerating anti-Islamic sentiments post-9/11. Violence is violence, hate is hate. There should be zero tolerance for hate.

In spite of the surfeit of positive religious role models in my life, I am profoundly skeptical of religion, though ultimately it is clear that the problem is with the human, not the "divine". In both the Muslim world and the Christian world, there is jackassery all around.

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