If life were fair, the Rev. Terry Jones of Gainesville, Fla. – and one uses the honorific very, very loosely – would be allowed to go play with his matches in obscurity, and we would simply ignore him.
But life is not fair. And as long as Afghanistan has the Internet, we can’t ignore him.
Fresh off the weekend slaughter in Afghanistan, officials in Dearborn, Mich., today are struggling with whether or not to issue the Koran-burning pastor of Dove World Outreach Center a permit to hold a demonstration in front of an Islamic center in their community on April 22. Which is Good Friday.
“The important thing to note is that we have not issued an approval on anyone’s permit yet and that may or may not occur,” Police Chief Ronald Haddad said.
In deciding whether to issue the permit or not, Haddad must consider several criteria as outlined in the city charter: Will it prevent the orderly flow of traffic? Will it require so many police officers on hand that it would take away from the regular patrol cars out on the streets? Will it hinder any emergency services?
And, perhaps most importantly, will the protest likely cause injury to persons or property, provoke disorderly conduct or a disturbance?
If there is any bright spot in this twisted affair, it’s the fact that we have found common ground between President Barack Obama and even the strongest conservatives. They could be reading from the same talking points.
From Obama on Saturday:
“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. No religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading of innocent people, and there is no justification for such a dishonorable and deplorable act.”
This week, I asked Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, for his reaction. Here’s Land’s response:
“Along with all Southern Baptists, I condemn the burning of any religious book. That is not the mark of a good neighbor, a good citizen or a civilized human being. I also condemn the riots and the killings of human beings in supposed retaliation for the burning of the Koran. This is also heinous behavior and is not in any way, shape or form justified by the burning of the Koran. In civilized society, one does not kill people for disrespecting or destroying the symbols or instruments of one’s faith.
“We will continue to condemn the burning of religious books and we will continue to condemn killing human beings in response to such despicable behavior. Both are barbaric and uncivilized, and the Muslim community can rest assured that we will continue to condemn a radical fringe that would burn Korans, and we expect them to join us in condemning their co-religionists’ killing human beings and using the burning of a Koran as the pretext for such murder.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider