?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Journal Friends Calendar Profile View Website Previous Previous Next Next
Burning the Koran for fun and profit ... or, not - Habemus plus vis computatoris quam Deus
Ramblings of a Unix ronin
unixronin
unixronin
Burning the Koran for fun and profit ... or, not

Susan Estrich, writing on rasmussenreports.com, compares Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones' declared plan to burn copies of the Koran "to send a message to Islam", to shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

And you know what?  She's right.  There is First Amendment freedom of speech, and there is incitement to riot.  You want to burn your own holy book, flag, or other revered symbols as an expression of protest?  Sure, knock yourself out.  On your own head be it.  But if you want to burn some other faith's holy book, don't be surprised if you're woken up by a howling mob of that faith's followers tearing your house down around your ears.

"We will not be responsible," Jones has said in reaction to the concern that his acts could cause Americans to die.  "We are only reacting to the violence that is already there in that religion."

Or, to perhaps put words into Jones' mouth, "Hey, it's not our problem; we're safe here in the US."

I don't know if it was Jones' intention to bracket his "Dove World Outreach Center" in with Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, but whether or not that was his goal, I think this stunt is likely to accomplish that.  I wish Jones and Phelps much happiness together, because no-one else is going to have a good word for Jones if his grandstanding causes Muslims worldwide to lash out at American citizens and interests.  And if that does happen, I'd love to be a fly on the wall to see the look on Jones' face when those harmed by the repercussions of this deliberately inflammatory stunt show up with lawyers and hand him the bill, along with process papers for a civil suit to recover it.

This entry was originally posted at http://unixronin.dreamwidth.org/770312.html. That post currently has comment count unavailable comments.
You may comment there via OpenID even if you do not have a Dreamwidth account.

Tags:
Current Location: Gilford, New Hampshire
Current Music: Supertramp :: Crisis? What Crisis? :: The Meaning (05:24)

Output (18) || Input
Comments
fair_witness From: fair_witness Date: September 8th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Y'know, I no longer call myself a Christian, but I'm pretty sure that Jesus never recommended responding to violence with a book burning. I seem to recall something about turning the other cheek, blessing those who persecute you ... I'm a little fuzzy on the details.

It's a shame Jones is even fuzzier.
cymrullewes From: cymrullewes Date: September 8th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
How about a christian? You know, someone who is trying to be like Christ.

We used to talk about the differences between little c and Big C christians all the time back in Sunday School.
fair_witness From: fair_witness Date: September 8th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, I don't really define myself as religious these days, so neither the little c nor the Big C label would fit me.
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 8th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never been much of a sympathizer with the idea of blessing those who persecute you, but descending to their level is kindergarten-level conflict-resolution technique.
"You're a poopy-head!"
"Yeah?  Well, so are you!"
"I'm rubber and you're glue..."
"Am not!"
"Are too!"
(Deleted comment)
ithildae From: ithildae Date: September 9th, 2010 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Well said.
lblanchard From: lblanchard Date: September 8th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe it's a case of "threatening to burn the Koran in hopes of making a profit." I bet if someone dragged enough hundred dollar bills through his trailer park he'd bite.
fruitylips From: fruitylips Date: September 9th, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
"There is First Amendment freedom of speech, and there is incitement to riot. You want to burn your own holy book, flag, or other revered symbols as an expression of protest? Sure, knock yourself out. On your own head be it. But if you want to burn some other faith's holy book, don't be surprised if you're woken up by a howling mob of that faith's followers tearing your house down around your ears"

So your position is that "Piss Christ" was only legal because American Christians weren't actually bat-shit crazy enough and had people actually gotten violent over it, that would have been Serrano's fault for inciting riot?

Luckily, Scott Roeder 's killer is still in prison , but perhaps he should be freed due to George Tiller's years and years of inciting violence...

Seems like a bad road to go down, but pretty standard in how we've treated Islam's various 'outrages' in recent years.

As usual, this is a case where it is way 'safer' for us to get upset at the American Christian who isn't going to blow up anything because he's 'dangerous'.
fruitylips From: fruitylips Date: September 9th, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
God dammit...Scott Roeder is the kill or Tiller...fuck...

You Know What I meant. ;-)

Stupid 630am...
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 9th, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not saying anything about whether it is, or should be, legal or not. The question of legality doesn't really enter into it, aside from his attempt to hide behind the First Amendment. I'm just saying (a) that it's a bloody stupid and irresponsible thing to do, especially given that the Pentagon has already expressed concerns that it'll endanger Americans in the Middle East and Jones' response to their concerns basically amounted to "Fuck off, it's not my problem", and (b) that Estrich is right in saying that his first-amendment argument is bullshit.

Still, with any luck he'll find himself with a fatwa on his ass, and maybe even become a martyr for his faith.

Edited at 2010-09-09 03:05 pm (UTC)
fruitylips From: fruitylips Date: September 9th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you're talking about incitement to riot, yes, you are talking about the legality of it.

Dude backed down already anyway...
jordan179 From: jordan179 Date: September 11th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
The question of legality doesn't really enter into it, aside from his attempt to hide behind the First Amendment.

Legality is the question, because the alternative is to shrink back in fear from defending our own civil liberties the moment that someone else demonstrates a willing to use violence to attack them. You think that this is only about Jones' obnoxiousness, but if you let him fall, the day will come when you, or someone with whom you agree, says something that a violent foreigner doesn't like, and it will be you and yours who are left unprotected before the mob.

Still, with any luck he'll find himself with a fatwa on his ass, and maybe even become a martyr for his faith.

In that case I hope that whoever issued the fatwa is arrested, or extradited, or failing that the the regime which refused to extradite him perishes in terror and pain under American bombers and tank treads. And that whoever tries to carry it out is gunned down, and dies with everyone laughing at him for his folly.

I do not want to see Americans come to the conclusion that they must limit their own free speech at the dictates of foreign barbarians, thank you.

skellington From: skellington Date: September 9th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have severe mental dissonance with Islam's current followers, and this is one of the reasons why.

If we were discussing the infamous cartoons, what would your opinion be about publishing them, even if riots might occur in other countries, resulting in Americans being killed?

What if we were talking about simple drawings of Allah? (And let's not get into the beautiful pictures of Allah from the Islamic Middle East from much of the last 1000 years in the Smithsonian...)

"Fire in a crowded theater" is both assumed to be a false statement, and one that causes a prudent person to react in a way that is dangerous to themselves and others. Even "fighting words" assume an immediate provocation that so incites a person that they don't have time to calm down and be reasonable.

Making a statement or performing an action, that will be published days, weeks, or months later, which results in someone else making a premeditated "response" by harming or killing people is a completely different case.

And saying that "just because someone believes XXX is a religious truth" automatically protects it from disagreement, criticism, or offensive depiction is absurd IMO. (Just like I fully support the right for anyone to burn or desecrate my flag.) Sorry, you have to properly dispose of old Star Wars toys because someone believes in "The Force" or you're committing desecration of religious objects.

Not a simple subject, but I don't buy this theory of liability (any more than I buy the anti-Mosque people saying it's a matter of "respect".)
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 10th, 2010 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)
You're right, it's not a simple issue. The Mohammed cartoons are in large part only an issue because the Islamic hardliners made them one. Much classical Islamic art portrays the Prophet; why is it OK for the Faithful to portray the Prophet, but not for anyone else to do it? The "faithful" are being hypocritical here.

But anyone should have the sense to know that publicly burning someone else's holy book is a deliberately inflammatory act (if you'll pardon the pun).
skellington From: skellington Date: September 10th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)
And a measured, inflammatory response is to use a bible to wipe your rear, or burn a couple dozen of them, or an American flag if that's all you can get. (After all, buying a bible is illegal in some of those countries.) Maybe write a dirty letter to the pope.

I expect anyone who's going to respond by participating in a riot, attempting to kill an American, or doing something more extreme is already inclined to do so, and will get around to it sooner or later. (And probably for reasons, real or imagined, much more serious than some random person in the US burning a Koran. i.e. support of Israel, their sister getting involved with an American serviceman, their rival getting a big US Army contract, or because their imam said you should.)

The hardliners are going to use it as an excuse, but the hardliners ALREADY use EVERYTHING as an excuse.

At what point does "shooting at American soldiers" (or advocating that people do) become an "inflammatory act"?

I'm down with religious tolerance, but when it's enforced by "If you don't respect our religion, you, or your countrymen, or just a bunch of random people are going to get murdered", I'm not so tolerant anymore.

Any if the hardliners can keep you from burning a Koran, can they keep you from publishing comics? or publishing history (that they disagree with)? or "letting" your women go out without a veil or burka? or sell non-halal meat? or sell a Bible? or...

At some point there has to be a very clear line between their rights and your. And while I think it is overly simplistic, the Libertarian definition of personal rights (i.e. Actions should be Free if they do not take away someone else's life, liberty or property through fraud or force) applies here, IMO. I should be free to do anything I want with my Koran. And the fundamentalist nutjobs should be forced to take responsibility for any actions that violate any American's rights, to the extent possible by the rules of war and international laws.

Today, they come for film-makers, comic artists, and Koran burners... tomorrow...
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 10th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm down with religious tolerance, but when it's enforced by "If you don't respect our religion, you, or your countrymen, or just a bunch of random people are going to get murdered", I'm not so tolerant anymore.
Sure, I'm 100% with that. But at the same time, I really can't have anything but disdain for this asshat basically saying, "I don't care what I stir up, I'm not one of the people at immediate risk."

Anyway, I understand he's now backed down.

(Also, his web host shut down his site after hate-speech complaints. But that's an entirely separate issue.)
jordan179 From: jordan179 Date: September 11th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Anyway, I understand he's now backed down.

Increasing the chance that someday you will likewise be forced to back down, right or wrong, when your government shows itself unwilling to protect your right to free speech.

When they come for you, there will be nobody left to speak out.
jordan179 From: jordan179 Date: September 11th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Simply because a book is sacred to a political faith does not mean that every copy of that book is legally protected from "desecration." One has the right to burn one's own Koran for the same reason that one has the right to burn one's own Bible, or indeed "one's own" anything.

But if you want to burn some other faith's holy book, don't be surprised if you're woken up by a howling mob of that faith's followers tearing your house down around your ears.

In such a case, hopefully one and one's friends, or the forces of the Law in one's stead would stand ready to gun down the mob, and they would all die while one suffered not even a hangnail or a moral qualm. One does not have a right to tear down someone else's house.

And if that does happen, I'd love to be a fly on the wall to see the look on Jones' face when those harmed by the repercussions of this deliberately inflammatory stunt show up with lawyers and hand him the bill, along with process papers for a civil suit to recover it.

I would hope in that case that the judge would dismiss the suit as frivolous, and even fine the people who brought it for contempt of court.




Output (18) || Input