April 5, 2011
As an American in the United States of America, you are allowed to do many things.
You can burn the flag. You can burn the Bible. You can produce obscene art and sometimes even get government money to finance it.
You can make movies and TV shows that ridicule Christianity, traditional morality, and that take the Lord’s name in vain.
If anybody objects to this, you can just accuse him of trying to impose his values on others. Then start talking about the Salem Witch Trial and the Spanish Inquisition.
Yes, you can do all those things, and more.
But can you burn a Koran?
Yes, but maybe not for long.
Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, in Gainesville, Florida, became the target of world condemnation last year when he announced he would burn a copy of the Koran in protest.
President Obama didn’t want him to do it. Neither did General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Actress/Activist Angelina Jolie spoke out against it. I’m still waiting for Angelina to speak out against anti-Christianity in Hollywood.
As a result of his plan to burn a Koran in the U.S.A., Terry Jones received death threats. His website was shut down. The mortgage on his church’s property was called in and – what a coincidence – the church’s property insurance was cancelled. The city of Gainesville threatened to charge the church for protection. And who knows what else happened behind the scenes? All this happened to a private group which wanted to burn a privately-owned book on private property.
What if the powers that be decide your private activity is objectionable?
In the end, Jones decided not to burn the Koran.
That was seven months ago. But now, he and his group have finally burned a Koran.
What they did was hold an American-style trial of the Koran, conducted in English and Arabic. The Koran was defended by an imam from Texas. And several former Muslim converts to Christianity were included.
If you’d like to really see where Jones and his group are coming from, you ought to check out his website, assuming it is still online. You can click here for that and you can also read Jones’s Ten Reasons to Burn the Koran.
Then, even if you disagree with what Jones has done, you will know what you are talking about. It is probably more fun to be very indignant without knowing what you talking about. But being informed is an option.
Anyway, after the Koran was condemned, it was burned. So the “world” exploded in hysterical condemnation.
In Afghanistan, especially, rioters felt duty-bound to prove that Jones was wrong to call their religion a violent one. So they went on a rampage, killed people and burned Obama in effigy.
President Obama, rather than defend American principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, put the rioters on the same level as Pastor Jones: “The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry. However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous, and an affront to human decency and dignity.”
Just as last September, General Petraeus, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, got involved. Last September he had complained that burning the Koran in Florida could put the troops in Afghanistan in danger.
Earth to Petraeus. Your troops are already in danger. They’re at war.
This time, Petraeus said the burning "was hateful, it was intolerant and it was extremely disrespectful and again, we condemn it in the strongest manner possible,"
Excuse me, but is it really appropriate for a general to be making pronouncements over U.S. domestic policy? Is it a general’s prerogative to tell American civilians what they can or cannot do?
Why does Petraeus condemn the burning of one Koran? The U.S. Army has confiscated and burned Bibles in Afghanistan. Where was the outcry over that?
As if all this weren’t quite bad enough, several members of Congress have implied they might do something about the Koran burning. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat) promised to look into it. Even worse, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had this chilling threat for citizens who don’t get in line:
“I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war,"
This reminds me of why we have a First Amendment. Contrary to popular opinion, the First Amendment was not written to give us freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition. Read what the First Amendment actually says:
“ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Did you notice that? The First Amendment was specifically written to prevent Congress from taking away our rights ! And when you have senators like Reid and Graham, you can see why!
In the words of Judge Gideon Tucker, and popularized by Samuel Clemens, “no man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” Or his right to burn the Koran.
Graham and others may be willing to restrict our speech, despite the fact that that First Amendment is specifically written to prohibit the Congress from doing so.
What about using our soldiers as an excuse for taking away our freedom of speech? As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom myself, I find that rather objectionable.
Our freedom is definitely in jeopardy. People had better speak out while they still can. Let your senator and congressman know what you think.
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Muslim countries don’t have much freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Why should we follow suit?
The havoc carried out by Muslim berserkers proves Pastor Jones’s point about Islam being a violent religion.
In effect, they are saying “Islam is not a violent religion. And if you say it is, we’ll kill you!”
Wake up Americans, and all Westerners. Your freedom is at risk.
© 2011 Allan Wall - All Rights Reserved
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Allan Wall recently returned to the U.S. after residing many years in Mexico.