Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Shame on the Quran Burners

I'm really bothered by the Americans who gathered to burn the Quran, a deliberately inflammatory act to desecrate the sacred book of Islam. Look, you're free to disagree with Islam and any other religion. But to deliberately provoke anger, to deliberately give haters of America a tool to stir up more hate and anger, is utterly irresponsible and unchristian. Shameful.

If you must express your intolerance by burning books, then feel free to burn my book. Yes, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to save lives and promote peace. You're welcome to burn thousands of copies of it--on sale now at Amazon. Once you know that I'm a cultist myself and the book promotes the bizarre cult of innovation right here in the United States, you'll feel better the more of it you burn, and so will I.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

In order for people to have a choice, they have to be given options to choose from. They don't get options if their immediate society makes the choices for them. At some point, people should begin to understand that none of us lives in a vacuum. Our beliefs are not independent of others and affect the way we treat others. If we're going to respect others as we would want to be respected, then we can't become violent about a person or people bad-mouthing or burning a Harry Potter book, a Koran or the Bible. The line where free speech ends is where violence begins. We have to allow criticism of our beliefs, or what we don't believe in, to freely flow without turning into violence and attempts to control others. If we're to be able to learn from others, and gain choices for ourselves, then we can't shutter ourselves into our own little communities composed of those that only think like ourselves.
The reason I like public schools over private religious schools is because the people in public schools have a variety of beliefs. People are subjected to options for choice. The only beliefs the government should promote and instruct in public schools for the purpose of education are those with substantial empirical evidences (and it can't force belief in those). < However, this presents a problem because people of differing ideologies tend to attempt to corrupt history and science while those with no reason to promote an ideology over another attempt to correct it. The way to corrupt a public school is to have it promote religion because then you remove people's ability to choose their religion, or lack of, for themselves. What I really want is for people to have a choice between each religion, or no religion. For that to happen, the government has to stay out of the beliefs of the public as much as possible.

Atheists are scared that people aren't being allowed to freely hear the pros and cons for what they believe in the public sphere and the public schools. Religious people are scared that if kids and other people are given the ability to choose for themselves, they may not choose to follow their beliefs.

LWATCDR said...

I do not think burning the Koran was right. It was disrespectful and rude. But is not more of an insult to God to harm his children over it? Yes they should be ashamed but so should the people rioting. If someone burned a book of Mormon or Bible what would you do? Shake your head in sorrow that they lost a chance to learn probably. Sure they could protest but once you cross the line into violence the shame and blame shifts.

Kullervo said...

The people doing the rioting are not small children or animals who are incapable of controlling their urges. They're responsible for their actions, just like everyone else.

If we censor ourselves out of fear of violent reprisals for speech, that's called "being bullied."

We live in a free society and we have freedom of speech, which includes the freedom to criticize Islam, or any other religion, belief or idea.

Paul said...

LW & Kullervo, I'd only respond that while what you say is theoretically true -- Muslims could choose not to riot or retaliate against Quran burnings -- Jeff's point (which I also hold) is that it's a different question at hand.

Do I have the right, because of my lack of belief in Islam, to desecrate their holy book? Legally, I may have a right to do so as part of my free speech, but morally, I do not.

Similarly, I would expect others to avoid desecration of things which are holy to me even if they do not share my beliefs.

Curtis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papa D said...

If Muslims had gathered in a Middle Eastern country to burn the Bible, I'm 100% positive these exact same Christians would be up in arms and screaming about the religious bigotry and intolerance of those Muslims and those countries. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Shame on those who participated in burning the Quran. They are the very people they criticize the most vehemently - at least, in this case.

Anonymous said...

As Christians we take upon us the name of Christ. And what we do is then a reflection of him and what he has instructed us to do as we follow him, especially when we do it in the name of Christianity. Is this something that anyone thinks that Christ would do? Is this an attempt to follow what one believes would be an example set by him? To even think Christ would participate in such a thing is enough to be ashamed of.

I agree that the greater wrong is to riot and kill etc. But doing what is right is never measured on the scale of greater or lesser wrong.

Paul 2 said...

And shame on the press for reporting it so eagerly. I believe in a free press, but hope they would exercise wisdom in what they choose to cover. There are far more important things to be worried about. His following is miniscule. He is not an important person. Making this man (in)famous because he is happy to do something offensive in front of a camera is irresponsible.

Molly said...

Yes. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Even if the Muslims of the world just sadly shook their heads or even loudly screamed about intolerance and bigotry, the burning never should have happened. Actually, that's exactly what most Muslims probably did, and the crazies who decided to riot and kill over it are accountable for their own actions. Just as the "Christian" who burned the Koran is accountable for his actions.

Senile Old Fart said...

Both the burners and the rioters suffer from the same lack of conviction. The burners fear the foreign ideas of the Qur'an. The rioters fear foreign ideas from any source. Both are imprisoned by their fears.

Stan Beale said...

I taught American Government for over 30 years and my unit on Civil Rights and Responsibilities began with a simple phrase, "The burden of freedom is responsibility." In discussing this the class would have a series of quotes. Among them were:

Liberty means reesponsibility. That is why most men dread it-George Bernard Shaw

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world he responsible for everything he does - Jean-Paul Sartre

True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what is right - Brigham Young.

What I really find missing in so many discussions about the burning of the Koran is a sense of individual moral responsibility. To wit:

1. A number of other people in various blogs and articles have referred to Terry Jones (book burner in charge) as crazy or insane, but skirted over his responsibility for the consequences of his actions.

2. Some comments lead into long defenses of his right to burn the book (oft times followed by an over generalized trashing of Islam, a sort of backhand explanation or justification of Jones's acts). But again, there is little if any examination of our responsibility in how we react.

3. There seems to be no sense of responsibity by a number of those who blog or comment. To get an idea of this see "If You Can't Burn The Koran, Then Islam Is Not Worth Spit" on Mormon Mentality on April 3.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that this book burning was less about expressing intolerance than about getting on TV. Sad to say, the fact that it worked suggests that it'll happen again.

Sarah said...

I certainly think that people should be able to criticise Islam, or any other religion, but in this case I think the question also has to be asked, did those people have the right to do something that resulted in the deaths of people that were not involved in that criticism but were innocent victims of the Qur'an burners refusal to see reason.

Willis said...

I think your group is bad. So I'll destroy something you think is important.

You over-reacted to my destruction of your thing.

See I knew you were bad. Now I have proof.

Faith said...

"Fear, I repeat it, is at the bottom of all intolerance."-Hendrik Willem van Loon

I like the book by Hendrik van Loon

Faith said...

I mean the book TOLERANCE BY Hendrik van Loon

C T said...

I like that one of the comments placed some blame on the media. If a book burns in a forest and no one sees it, does it cause a riot? Of course not.

Paul said...

CT, I disagree. All the media does is report what happens. And the book burner knew it.

BTW, if that book burns in the forest, it may not cause a riot, but it will likely cause a forest fire. And that would surely win the attention of the media.

NathanS said...

People reading the Quran in English are not reading the Quran. This is the belief of Muslims. Therefor, if the text burned was an English text, it was not an Islamic holy text but a symbol of one.

At one time I did not understand the reasonableness of Muslims regarding non-Arabic translations as not the real thing. Over the period of many years, I got used to it - in part by rationalizing how translation processes do allow for errors. But a year or so ago I learned why this view is essential to the faith of Islam: When the Quran is translated to other languages, part of the Quran is held back. Peaceful parts are translated but militancy is watered down so those who look into the religion can view it as a religion of peace.

The question of what Jesus would do came up. That is a very good question. Perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that he would not burn the book - just as is perhaps reasonable to conclude that Jesus would not purposely offend anyone - but Jesus did in fact offend many during his mortal ministry and it appears that he did it purposefully, after chasing the money changers out of the temple, to make it easier for Satan to get the rulers to succeed in getting the Romans to crucify him.

Jesus said, "peace give I unto you, not as the world giveth" and at another moment, he said he did not come to bring peace but war - father against son and mother against daughter - whoever would not forsake another for his sake was not worthy of him.

I don't suggest burning the Quran or any of its fake, other language, counterparts but without a doubt, it is better to see the intolerance of Islam to the hurt of a few than the destruction of an entire nation. Many believe God would not tell a Nephi to kill one man so an entire nation would not dwindle in unbelief without the brass plates. They might even point out that if they were to concede the story line as mostly historical, those plates divided a nation and caused a lot of wars in which many were killed.

Of course not all Muslims are terrorists but the 15% or so that favor terrorism do not hold in check the terrorists that believe only terrorist supporters are true Muslims. And apparently, neither do any other Muslims, Christians, atheists, agnostics, or any other forces hold all the terrorist Muslims in check.

Could there be a little irony in Christians condemning the book burners when the same Christians are doing little or nothing to warn America of the dangers of encroaching Islam - with a doubling of that population doubling its support for terrorists - in the U.S.? Of course someone will say that not all terrorists are Muslims. True. But name another major religious group that supports terrorism at that level.

If any of you will condemn those that burn books, please offer some alternative efforts at highlighting our danger at subjecting America to an ever growing body of 15% terrorist-supporters. Please. Please!

And please don't just dispute statistics. The 15% figure I read came from a place I don't have my fingers on at the moment but the actual percentage is least important if important at all. Dispute the statistics if you can and want to but also offer an alternative effort to avert the danger. We can't pretend there is nothing to be done or that nothing needs to be done, without incurring a great cost.

catholic defender said...

Hi Nathan S,

A very famous justice of the US Supreme Court noted once, when responding to an argument about hate speech, that the solution to hate speech is not censorship, but more speech. This very response is one of the tenants upon which the First Amendment of he US Constitution is supported. Our First Amendment is the most important amendments in our free society. Without it, everything that we hold dear, falls to the wayside. The very fact that you can be Mormon, and I can be Catholic hinges upon the right to have our ideas about faith be our own. That same right extends to Muslims in this country whether we agree with their beliefs or not. If we as a society that values the right to free expression, and freedom of ideas, begin to condone book burning and suppression of the muslim religion because its tenants are violent, and not generally peaceful, we place our entire way of life in jeopardy.

Take for example the KKK. They speak the most hateful things about anyone and everyone who does not fit into their ideal of society, which basically comes down to being a WASP. They march regularly and promote all manner of hate. When people began to suppress their right to freely speak their hatred, our US Supreme Court noted that if these folks were not allowed to speak freely, then no one would be allowed to do so. The very argument that protects the Bible, and the BOM, is the very argument that protects Playboy, the Quran, the Communist Manifesto, and every other controversial idea. If you say that one can not read the Quran because you find it offensive, that person can turn that argument against the BOM. Eventually the First Amendment would fall, and no one in this country would be free to practise what they believe.

I disagree very strongly with the Muslim ideal. Its offensive to me. I feel very strongly that Islam is not a peaceful religion. That said, I would defend the right of every Muslim to practise thier faith in this country, as freely as they can. I would do this because the big picture of what happens if we don't, is a loss of freedom for us all. So my answer to you about what to do if we don't condone book burning, is to exercise your freedom of speech. Speak out about Christianity. Speak out about the contraditions in Islam. Speak freely about your beliefs, and allow others to speak freely about thiers. Then let the people who hear make thier own informed decisions.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

NathanS said...

CD said,

"I would defend the right of every Muslim to practise thier faith in this country, as freely as they can. I would do this because the big picture of what happens if we don't, is a loss of freedom for us all. So my answer to you about what to do if we don't condone book burning, is to exercise your freedom of speech. Speak out about Christianity. Speak out about the contraditions in Islam. Speak..."

You speak very well, CD. I just saw an article in an LDS publication about missionary work in a 50% Muslim country, showing that Islam and other religions can peacefully co-exist. You give good advice and write better, I suppose, than I did but I'd still like to see a little less criticism of those who exercise their rights through burning.

Thanks for your thoughtful response.

Paul said...

Nathan, what you have failed to do is explain why someone should exercise his right to burn the book in a public way that will lead to a predictable result.

NathanS said...

"Nathan, what you have failed to do is explain why someone should exercise his right to burn the book in a public way that will lead to a predictable result."

Paul, did I "fail" to do that or did I not try?

I think I did explain or imply that it is good to know Islam, and there are two ways to know it: now or when it is too late. The article I mentioned in my reply to Catholic Defender indicates that the choice I offer may be a false dichotomy but on the other hand, much of what goes on in the world proves the dangerous possibility that the dichotomy I offer may not be false. Our country may one day be embroiled in the type of terrorism that we got a taste of on 9/11 if we want to pretend that such dangers are minimal or that they don't exist. If the thoughtful commenters on this blog ignore the danger of future predictable results on U.S. soil, which would you prefer for waking more people up - a few more book burnings or a few more 9/11's?

I think a little neutrality toward the burners can be healthy. I don't believe I set myself up for needing to prove anything. But since you bring up the issue of proof, I suppose it is appropriate to challenge you to disprove the idea that ignorance of Islam can result in danger, or that book burning cannot contribute to a fruitful discussion on the topic.

Islam believes in killing those who convert away from Islam. Do you think people should be ignorant of Muslims' response to those who convert to Islam and then wish to convert back to some other faith? Do you think people should be ignorant of the threat to their lives? Much of Islam is at war with freedom. If we are to support Islam here, we should know the potential costs. I don't think we should condemn those who are trying to bring that to light. Disagree with their tactics? I don't believe I ever said you should not disagree. Yes. Go ahead and express disagreement. And do as Catholic Defender by suggesting a better approach. But I don't agree with just condemning those that contribute to our awareness of the dangers of many Muslims - especially condemning those that stick their own necks out while knowing that the target could be themselves. When have you stuck your neck out like that to contribute to an education campaign? If you are not doing anything to save America against the threat, please don't just condemn those who are tying.

Quran said...

Well i don't understand those americans people. they always give freedom to every one to do any thing that could be the worst thing as well as some times favorable for others. If every one in this world ios free to do any thing then why they are pinching and torturing others by doing war, attaching on othr countries, increasing prices,stopping people to do any thing. By insulting some one regarding their religion is ethically wrong.

catholic defender said...

Dear Quran,

What you may be struggling with, is the result of a society wherein people are not free to have their own ideas. As Americans, we value the ideas of everyone. And we hold sacred the freedom of being able to speak our minds, even to the point of criticizing our government.

We are not perfect, and ours is not a perfect society or a perfect form of government. What makes this country great though, is that we are free to hold our own ideas without interference from the government or some state recognized religion. Not everyone in the world is free to do this, and that is a very sad thing. As Americans, we try to share this concept of freedom with everyone else. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes we come across as arrogant and intrusive. But, in the grand scheme of things, the US form of freedom works, is better for all who participate in it, and makes us the envy of the entire world. People want to have thier ideas be thier own, and they want to be respected for the ideas they have.

I do not condone book burning or censorship of any sort. But, I do recognize that if someone in the US wants to express their right to free speech by burning the Quran or the Bible, they have the absolute right to do that. Personally I think it is a bad idea, is in very poor taste, and is offensive. But as Americans we are free to do that. Can you say the same for your country?

Sincerely

Catholic Defender