Let’s burn all the holy books while we’re at it

nazi-book-burningI was going to join everyone else on the internet tonight and write about so-called Christian Terry Jones and his poorly thought-out plan to burn 200 copies of the Quran come Saturday, but it looks now as though it’s been called off, or at least momentarily postponed. Jones says he decided to pull the plug on the big event because the folks behind the so-called “ground zero mosque” in New York had agreed to abandon their plans to build an Islamic center in the shadow of the World Trade Center.

Could it be that maybe the threat of burning a few hundred Qurans caused the Park51 developers to reconsider? Do we have Jones to thank for defusing what could easily have become a violent situation in New York?

Probably not… According to a statement made tonight by Sharif El-Gamal, the developer of the Islamic center in question, they have no intention of moving it… So, either Jones is more fucking crazy than I thought, or someone’s lying. If I were a betting man, I’d say that Jones made it up, in hopes of saving face with his new legion of xenophobic fanboys, who have their hearts set on seeing Qurans go up in flames. (My guess is that the Feds got involved and scared the ever loving shit out of Jones, threatening him with prison time for financial improprieties and other questionable dealings by his church.)

Anyway, I’d been struggling with what to write about this standoff in Florida, as, not too long ago, I criticized the protesters in New York who were dead set against the idea of a mosque a few short blocks from where the 9/11 attacks occurred. Most of the folks interviewed at the protest, if you’ll recall, conceded the fact that the Muslim owners of the site had the right to do build whatever they liked, but reasoned that an Islamic center shouldn’t be built there out of deference to the dead and their families. (Ignoring the fact that over 60 innocent Muslims died in the World Trade Center that day.) If I remember correctly, I argued that the Constitution trumped claims of insensitivity. So, when thinking about this Florida preacher and his plans to burn the Quran, I found it difficult to come out and say that, while he could legally burn the books, I’d encourage him to be sensitive. So, I’ve been sitting here, struggling with how I could say what I wanted to say without looking like a hypocrite.

The bottom line, at least as far as I’m concerned, is that Jones has the right to burn whatever books he likes, as distasteful as we might find that, just as the Muslim group in New York has every right to build a mosque at 51 Park. Sometimes, I guess, living in a democracy isn’t pretty.

With that said, though, if Jones does follow through with his bonfire on Saturday, I’d encourage everyone in the area to attend with their Bibles, making it clear to the preacher that, if he puts match to paper, more than just Qurans are going to burn… And, assuming it did play out like that, with people tossing in their Bibles, what if the conflagration never stopped? What if, the more people thought about what was happening, the more they felt compelled to send their holy books to Florida to be incinerated? What if the blaze lasted for years, turning all of Florida into one giant, smoldering heap of religious ash? What if Terry Jones unintentionally ushers in a new post-religious age of reason?

Or, better yet, what if we all shave our facial hair and set fire to it in protest to Jones, who, in spite of being a fucking nut, has a it’s been called off” >sweet ass mustache? Maybe that’s better than burning books.

I’d like to say more, but I’m needed elsewhere. There are, after all, other injustices that require my sweaty, red-faced outrage.

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  1. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    I like how the Pentagon is cool with blowing up their families with predator drones and shit, but some jackass in Florida they would have otherwise never heard about wants to burn their holy book and it might make the terrorists who are currently trying to kill us want to kill us… more?

  2. dragon
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Also, too.

    Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret “kill team” that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.

    Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year. Seven others are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses, including members of the unit smoking hashish stolen from civilians.


  3. Posted September 10, 2010 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Just another example of not understanding or caring about what we do and say affects other people in the rest of the world or the people in the Gainesville pastor’s own back yard. This jerks is putting many thousands of people here and abroad at risk with his stunt.

    The WTC bombing did not happen in a vacuum. Because of that fateful day more of us (excluding the Gainesville pastor and his sympathizers) now realize what many people in the rest of the world have faced every day for the last 50 years. Before 9/11 how many folks here in the USA wondered if they were going to be killed on their way to work by terrorist bomber? Anyone who said or thought it couldn’t happen here was living in a fairy tale.

    I didn’t hear about any Bible bonfires when Tim McVeigh bombed the Murrah Federal building killing 168 people.


  4. EOS
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Better yet. Christians should show up in large numbers with their Bibles and stand with the Muslims, voicing their opposition to this isolated, misguided individual.

  5. Knox
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    The last time you wrote about Terry Jones here, there was a link to an NBC story about his arrest for child porn. I just tried to follow the link now, and discovered that the story has been removed. It’s makes me wonder what happened.


  6. Peter Larson
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I don’t think he’s that isolated. Misguided, yes, isolated, no. Given the rhetoric being thrown around these days about Islam, I think there are a great many people who support this kind of stupidity and laud this bozo as a hero.

    I agree though, that burning Bibles (or any book for that matter) is not constructive. Better to voice peaceful opposition rather than continue the cycle of violence, even if that violence is symbolic.

  7. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Well, as a libertarian Christian, I really don’t give a rats ass if anyone burns a bible, unless it’s MY bible.

  8. Edward
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    “collecting their fingers as trophies”

    Is that the world we live in now? Is that what this has come to? Have we have no regard for human life? Or is this just a case of a few “bad apples”? I hope that’s it, but I fear that it’s worse. I fear that it’s our culture. Maybe it’s a case of religion being too weak in our lives, and not too strong. Or, more likely, it’s the case of religion straying too far from the core teachings of Christ. Instead of engaging in politics and culture war, maybe our religious leaders should be talking about non-violence, forgiveness, sympathy and our responsibility as human beings to protect the earth and care for one another.

  9. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    David, a man after God’s own heart, collected Philistines’ foreskins as trophies.

  10. Ted
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I will be boiling three copies of Dionetics this evening. Members of the press can contact me through this site.

  11. Ypsijav
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Has anyone moved on the idea of protesting fundamentalist Christian churches in the vicinity of anti-abortion bombing/shooting sites? We can’t let the terrorists win by erecting monuments to the rights of the unborn overtaking those of post-birth humans!

  12. Art
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    from the news:

    Demonstrators in Jalalabad burned a US flag and chanted “Death to Obama”

    Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across Afghanistan over plans, now on hold, by a small Florida church to burn copies of the Koran.

    Three people were shot when a protest near a Nato base in the north-east of the country turned violent.
    Continue reading the main story
    Related stories

    * In pictures: Anger around the world
    * In quotes: Koran-burning threat
    * Koran burning and the First Amendment

    President Hamid Karzai said the stunt had been an insult to Islam, while Indonesia’s president said it threatened world peace.

    Terry Jones told US breakfast TV he currently had no plans to carry it out.

    President Barack Obama had warned it would be an al-Qaeda “recruitment bonanza”, while Defence Secretary Robert Gates asked the pastor to cancel the protest.

  13. Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I heard that Dianetics is better when baked.

  14. Robert
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    With the way the economy is looking, we may need to burn books just to keep warm this winter.

  15. Andy C
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    If one totally unknown man can cause this much damage and conversation with the mere “threat” of burning copies of the Quran, think of the destruction I could cause by doing OBEY style art of Mohammad on billboards across the country. I could start WW3. Why isn’t everyone ignoring this guy?
    This reminds me of the days when the KKK would do their yearly rally in Ann Arbor. Hundreds would come out in protest, rioting and smashing up Main St. If they just treat them as if they were homeless and they’d go away.

  16. Edward
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Because this, Andy, is easier than covering torture, the erosion of privacy, the rise of the police state, the toxins in our food, corporate crime, and all the rest of it. This is easy. Everyone agrees that the guy is wrong. That’s so rare that we need to celebrate it.

    And I prefer my Dionetics deep fried in Crisco.

  17. Robert
    Posted September 30, 2010 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Dept of Defense buys 9,500 9/11 books, burns them (able danger)


    The Pentagon has burned 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer’s memoir “Operation Dark Heart,” his book about going undercover in Afghanistan.

    A Department of Defense official tells Fox News that the department purchased copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security.

    The U.S. Army originally cleared the book for release.

    The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency attempted to block the book about the tipping point in Afghanistan and a controversial pre-9/11 data mining project called “Able Danger.”

    Specifically, the DIA wanted references to a meeting between Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, the book’s author, and the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, removed. In that meeting, which took place in Afghanistan, Shaffer alleges the commission was told about “Able Danger” and the identification of Atta before the attacks. No mention of this was made in the final 9/11 report.

    Shaffer, who was undercover at the time, said there was “stunned silence” at the meeting after he told the executive director of the commission and others that Atta was identified as early as 2000 by “Able Danger.”

    “Dr. Philip Zelikow approached me in the corner of the room. ‘What you said today is very important. I need you to get in touch with me as soon as you return from your deployment here in Afghanistan’,” Shaffer said.

    Once back in the U.S., Shaffer says he contacted the commission. Without explanation, the commission was no longer interested. An inspector general report by the Department of Defense concluded there was no evidence to support the claims of Shaffer and others. But Fox News has obtained an unredacted copy of the IG report containing the names of witnesses, who backed up Shaffer’s story when contacted for comment.

    Shaffer spoke to Fox News before he was asked by the military not to discuss the book. He confirmed efforts to block the book and other details.

    Calling the move “highly unusual,” he explained that the book had already been cleared for release when the DIA stepped in.

    “Apparently, Defense Intelligence Agency took exception to the way the Army cleared the book,” he told Fox News.

    In a letter obtained by Fox News, the DIA says national security could be breached if “Operation Dark Heart” is published in its current form. The agency also attempted to block key portions of the book that claim “Able Danger” successfully identified hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat to the United States before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

  18. Robert
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Look, even the Pentagon reads your blog, Mark. They heeded your call and got in on the book burning action. (see the article I pasted and linked above)

  19. Nelson
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    What if we compromise and burn 50 Shades of Grey?

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