Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Doves? Not so much.

More stuff related to the Islamic Cultural Center planned in lower Manhattan: the delightful Dove World Outreach Center, in Gainesville, Florida, is planning a Koran-burning day on 11 September, though they have been denied a permit for it (and no surprise on either point). It is, of course, the Christian thing to do.

Well, not specifically. Religion is, by its nature, divisive, separating us (those who believe a certain way) from them (those who don’t). Lots of things are divisive, of course, but when what’s dividing people is a belief in what’s divinely, cosmically right and true, and when one’s scripture dooms them to eternal damnation and suffering, things get a bit hairy.

That said, most of us, certainly in America and lots of other places, accept people as neighbours and friends even if they be them — even if they don’t believe in the same cosmic reality as we do. Most of us don’t wish them ill, most of us don’t carry signs, wear t-shirts, and shout in the streets against our neighbours. And most of us certainly don’t defile their cultural artifacts.

Of course, we’re just talking about books, and there’s no harm really done by burning them, apart from the general distaste we have for the burning of books (and perhaps the small amount of air pollution generated). There’s no difference, here, between their burning Korans, the Westboro idiots and their equally hateful God hates fags message as they picket soldiers’ funerals, the jamming of a nail into a Catholic communion wafer, and other similar things.

These acts all say more about the people doing them than anything else, and the acts don’t harm the intended victims — unless they allow themselves to be offended.

We all just need to shake our heads, say What a bunch of nutbag fools, and then forget about it. Outrage fuels their hate. Apathy, and even pity for their small-mindedness, takes the wind out of their sails.

Bill Irwin, who lives in Gainesville, has blogged about this crazy church before, noting the signs and t-shirts they have, saying Islam is of the devil. While we’re here, here’s Bill’s note of support for the Islamic center.


Thomas J. Brown said...

Hasn't the point of book burning historically been to reduce the number of whatever book it is you're burning?

I'd wager these fools were planning to bulk-order copies of the Koran, since I'm sure none of them had copies just laying about and raiding a mosque would be illegal.

The obvious (attempted) affront to Islam aside, what they're more likely to do is cause a small spike in sales of the Koran, leading to a perceived increase in demand, and as an unintended result, more supply.

Perhaps, anyway.

Barry Leiba said...

Maybe a long time ago, before mass printing, people burned books to actually get them out of circulation. I think that for a very long time, it's been symbolic, more than practical.

But you're right: it seems a bit silly to give money to buy books that you hate. Yet one more reason to think that they're fools.

WM Irwin said...

1) I have met Dove's pastor Terry Jones, and I can say that he is one very disturbed individual. It doesn't surprise me that he is doing this anti-Islam thing; what surprises me is the lag period between 9/11/01 and the time he chose to embark on this "crusade".

2) As you know, Barry, I visited Manhattan this past April and immediately fell in love with it. One thing that struck me very deeply was the compression of space, especially in the Wall Street/WTC area of Lower Manhattan. To say something is within two blocks of Ground Zero covers an awful lot of real estate! When I walked around NYC, there were people from all over the world, obviously including many Muslims. One would assume that, in such a cosmopolitan place like New York, that there would be MANY mosques and other religious places for their adherents to congregate in. Lower Manhattan seems like a great place to build a site for any major religion, so why not a mosque?

This "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy is, in my opinion, nothing more than an election-year gimmick designed to drive people to the polls in panic (and vote Republican, of course). I think the same people driving this issue are the ones trying to cast our president as a Muslim (as if that were something oh-so-evil if it were true, which it isn't).

Let's face it, Barry. You and I grew up in the Cold War, when word "Communist" was then politically synonymous with "the bad guys who want to take over the world and take away our freedoms". Nowadays you can replace "Communist" with "Muslim" and you have the same old crap. Just new scapegoats who look and sound different.

Barry Leiba said...

As they say: “Amen.”

HRH said...

Well, one’s intelligence, decides for one’s behavior, and in this case the intelligence factor has led them, to express their animus toward Islam, in such bellicose manners. And that’s that, but I would have expected from the local authorities, to have enough probity for the environment, to forbid burning and enforce re-cycling in these cases.