Recently in the news there was the story of Pastor Terry Jones, the head of the Dove World Outreach program, who planned to hold burn the Qur’an day on the ninth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Is this really what some people have resorted to? Burning a religious book that, if nothing else, can be enjoyed for its literary and poetic value? What does Pastor Jones hope to accomplish by burning the Qur’an? He probably had some idea in his head, but in reality the two main results would be a fire and a large number of angry people.
In the end, following statements and actions from both important American figures including General David Petraeus, who made a statement that the burning would endanger American troops, and Muslims in the Middle East, who held protests with effigies of Pastor Jones and flag burnings, Pastor Jones cancelled the burning. His reasoning, however, was that he had supposedly made plans to speak with Imam Feisal Abdel Rauf, the leader behind the mosque planned blocks from Ground Zero, in New York City on Saturday. Rauf denied this, but the Qur’an burning was still, at least temporarily, canceled.
I struggle with the immense ignorance that it takes to swallow the words of people and groups such as Pastor Jones’ church and the famous Westboro Baptist Church. Haven’t people learned that violence, hate, and inflammatory actions traditionally lead to results that are less than desirable? Some would argue that the right to free speech protects groups like this, and yes, that is true. There was no army or police force there to attack and detain Pastor Jones to prevent his event, but free speech comes with certain responsibilities, and in my mind, one of those is to use common sense.
Many people in today’s world don’t have the luxury of free speech, so please don’t stomp on that right by abusing it. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely do not advocate snuffing out any ideas that I or others disagree with, but as a nation, and even throughout the world, people need to step back and look at the big picture to see the true results of their actions.