Koran burning a legal abomination
We admit it, the pastor of the far-right Florida church that plans to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11 as some sort of twisted tribute to the victims of 9/11, has a legal right to do so.
Morally, though, it’s an abomination.
And intellectually, it demonstrates what a lightweight the leader of this ecumenical rat pack is.
In case you haven’t heard, members of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., and there are only 50 of them, plan to burn copies of Islam’s holy book for 10 reasons they explain on their website. We won’t go into those reasons here. Check them out for yourself.
No less a figure than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been at the forefront of supporters of the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero, has acknowledged, somewhat reluctantly, the church’s right to burn the books.
“I don’t think he (Dove Pastor Terry Jones) would like it if somebody burned a book in his religion that he thinks is holy,” Bloomberg told The New York Post. “But the First
Amendment protects everybody and you can’t say we’re going to apply the First Amendment in only those cases where we are in agreement.”
He’s right. This country does support the right of Americans to engage in forms of expression that thoroughly disgust most of us. This country even protects the rights of Americans to burn their own flag.
That we can protect this kind of free speech shows how strong our democracy really is.
So this church is within its rights. Having said that, if the Dove World Outreach Center (what an oxymoron of a name!) goes ahead of this despicable act, they will be endangering the lives of thousands of U.S. servicemen and women, not to mention soldiers from other counties, who are currently putting their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan
While Pastor Jones says the burning is meant to stand up to the forces of terrorism, the commander of the men and women who are really standing up to it, Gen. David Petraeus, took the very rare step for a commander in the field to protest a civilian action back home.
“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” Petraeus said in a statement attacking the burning, which was issued Monday.
As Jews, memories of our holy books — the Torah and Talmud — being consigned to the flames by our enemies down through the centuries, should be enough for us to speak out against this.
So there’s the dilemma. Legally, the burning is permissible. Morally, it couldn’t be more wrong. What to do?
Hopefully, we won’t need to do anything. Jones, who is feeling the pressure for this decision (he says he’s received death threats) indicated as of Tuesday morning that he might still change his mind.
Let’s hope what little reason he has will prevail.
If it doesn’t, the city of Gainesville may be able to use what burning ordinances it has on the books — the church will probably need a permit — to slow it down.
But that’s an iffy proposition.
In the end, all we can really do is show the world that Jones and his band of crazies don’t speak for America, including the Jews. And that we are doing.