Thursday, September 09, 2010

Save the Korans (Or Not)

We can all rest easy now that the leader of a small Florida church has been dissuaded from burning a copy of the Koran by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The government had warned that the incident would be a recruiting boom to Al Qaeda and put the lives of our troops in danger.

This sad spectacle is the latest in a ridiculous cultural war that obscures real issues of government policy. It also points out a sad double standard in the new politics of taking offense. If carried out consistently, the Obama administration will have time for little else but begging Americans not to be offensive. Good luck with that.

The President goes out of his way to preach religious pluralism and insists Americans not equate the relatively small numbers of murderous fundamentalists with all Muslims, yet our Secretary of Defense has to go begging because the Islamic world thinks a small-time religious fanatic in Florida is representative of the entire Christian world? Has the Secretary of Defense placed a call to the crazy church in Kansas that sends its small band of followers to picket military funerals, praising each service member’s death as divine retribution for America’s acceptance of gays? That’s pretty offensive too. Luckily, we have the Patriot Guard (lesson: the key to dealing with offensive speech is more free speech).

If one reactionary minister can endanger the lives of our troops with a silly offensive stunt, our problem is not the reactionary minister. The same First Amendment that allows misguided Muslims to build an Islamic center a few blocks from where thousands were murdered in the name of Islam also allows malevolent Christians to burn Korans. If Muslims around the world can’t get that concept through their kufi-clad heads, then they are the problem, not the random leeches sucking publicity from the latest mosque controversy.

Since there’s now a precedent for the Obama administration to personally appeal to people who plan to offend Muslims, I thought I might get in on the act. Not to be outdone, I sent the following message to the White House through its official Web site:

“Since a reactionary pastor in Florida earned a phone call from Secretary Gates with his threat to burn a copy of the Koran, I hereby declare my intention to defecate on a copy of the Koran on Sept. 11, 2011 unless President Obama calls me and kindly asks me not to. Thank you.”

I included my phone number so the President can call me. My email was also a part of the online form. I really hope the President phones me; I only have one copy of the Koran and I’d rather not poop on it.

And while our cabinet members are busy making sure private citizens don’t do anything to offend Muslims, do you think they might get around to wrapping up a nine-year war that has killed thousands more Americans and still hasn’t found Osama Bin Laden?

If everything that happens in this country that offends Muslims required cabinet-level action, our government would have melted down a long time ago. The fundamentalists who would take offense enough to a Koran burning to become violent are already radicalized and nothing our government does will ever appease them. We won’t win the war against Islamic extremists by making ourselves less offensive to Islamic extremists.


Otto Yamamoto(ECHM) said...

We're worried about offending the Muslims by burning the Koran, but continue to blow the tits off Afghanistan. Something's wrong with this picture.

Ralph Goldenmough said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

One thing, though: A Jew wears a kippah; a Muslim wears a kufi.

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