Two weeks ago it was the furor over the inaccurately named “Ground Zero Mosque”. This week, everyone is up in arms about a small-time Gainesville, Florida preacher’s plans to burn copies of the Quran on September 11th. Reverend Jones, leader of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center, has received oversized attention for someone who leads so small a flock. Surely we are giving him more attention than he deserves.
With such a deep hatred of Muslims and an uncivil way of expressing it, Reverend Jones is a world-class jerk who doesn’t live his life as an example of the teachings of Jesus Christ. There is no loving of his neighbors, doing unto others, etc. that we would reasonably expect from a man who claims to be a man of God.
But there is one point I find very interesting in all this fuss. While burning a Quran is a rather stupid and insensitive way to express his beliefs, isn’t the fact that the wrong Reverend Jones has and can freely exercise freedom of speech actually a big raspberry in the face of those who despise the freedoms that America represents?
Wouldn’t Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda ilk like nothing better than to see Americans stifle our own civil liberties and freedoms?
While I’m sure there will be plenty of people in Muslim lands and elsewhere who will be outraged at the sight of an American “Christian” minister burning copies of the Quran, I have to wonder if there won’t also be a whole lot of people who will be amazed that there is a country out there where someone can express contrary opinions without fear of persecution, repression, or execution by the authorities?
That is not the case in many countries out there, certainly not the ones where Al Qaeda likes to spread their poison.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Evelyn Beatrice Hall