Saturday, September 11, 2010

Letting the Qur'an Burn Makes Us Stronger

The phrasing in the headline isn't accidental. I said "Letting the Qur'an burn," not "Burning the Qur'an." Let me be clear that I think burning the Qur'an, the bible, any country's flag, the US Constitution, or even a copy of Fahrenheit 451, is a really bad idea.

Just in case that's not clear, let me repeat: it's a really, really bad idea. I do not in any way approve of anybody burning or destroying something that is sacred to somebody else.

But our country is strong because we allow people, even bigots and racists and just plain stupid folks, to have opinions which are -- you got it -- bigoted, racist, and just plain stupid. And burning stuff is just one way of expressing your opinion. If the Taliban or Al-Qaeda were in charge, you wouldn't be allowed to dissent. You'd have to do it in secret or risk being stoned to death.

If you're one of those radical, intolerant Christians who want to destroy something sacred to somebody else, you're not alone. In fact, you're just like the people you claim to hate the most. The Taliban destroyed buddhas, including the ancient and irreplaceable Buddhas of Bamyan. And as for Al-Qaeda ... maybe you've heard of the World Trade Center. Burn some Qur'ans and you'll be in great company.

We're better than that. We let people dissent. We know that a few bad people, like Qur'an burners, the Taliban, and Al-Qaeda, do not represent all Americans, all Christians, or all Muslims. Just like Timothy McVeigh and Terry Jones do not even come close to speaking for either all Christians or all Americans, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda do not come close to representing all of the Middle East or all Muslims.

So, hey, you want to be stupid, go ahead. The rest of us aren't interested in inciting more hatred.


Unknown said...

I'm pretty proud of the fact that I got the Farhenheit 451 'joke' ;)