To Burn or Not to Burn: That Is NOT the Question

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We have no idea if the newly notorious pastor in Florida is going to burn the Koran on Saturday. He apparently hasn’t decided, but no matter. Having successfully reaped his 15 minutes of fame, and now apparently inspiring others to burn, as well, when tomorrow dawns, the situation has escalated into an international firestorm. Yet the actual burning is not at all the issue.

I personally find book burning abhorrent, whether the tinder be the Bible, the Koran, Mein Kampf, Harry Potter or Huckleberry Finn. I frankly regard this pastor’s showboating as either a publicity stunt or a death wish (perhaps both), evident in his announcing his intent long before 9/11 to ensure maximum media attention. But my country has taught me that it is within the rights of all Americans to burn a book or a flag, to behave stupidly and recklessly, or to speak out against our government — rights foreign to most other countries, particularly those currently criticizing our handling of our own internal issues, such as illegal immigration and the building of a mosque at Ground Zero.

What disgusts me most about this incident is not that a man of the cloth would protest Islam by burning its book, but rather the strident response of, among others, our own media outlets, elected officials, and President to the man’s threats to do so.

I think back to moments in our history — to the celebrated desecration of the Virgin Mary and the Star of David, to modern-day Nazis marching through a town occupied by Holocaust survivors, to a crucifix submerged in a glass of urine heralded as fine art, to the former President routinely burned in effigy — and I wonder, where were the protests from all those exalted authorities and institutions then? Where were the calls for restraint? We all know the answer to that one.

Which brings us to the fundamental difference between these documented incidents in our recent past, and the current threat of a torched Koran. Fear. That’s the difference. The authorities and institutions squawking in unison to stop Saturday’s burning don’t fear the Christians, the Jews or we the people. They know that those so inclined to desecrate and disgrace the symbols of these faiths, and of America herself, can do so freely and graphically without threat of repercussion. But these same authorities and institutions are terrified to the bone of those who follow Islam. Their resulting reactions, their policies, their censorship and their scoldings, are fueled by that fear.

This chronic hypocrisy is in turn fueling the palpable rage brewing in America right now: a rage at the tyranny spewing from our nation’s capitol, a rage at politically correct appeasement of those who wish to destroy us (whether or not a Koran is burned), a rage at punishing policies and taxes that cripple our childrens’ futures. This rage now boils over at a most symbolic moment in our nation’s history – the anniversary of a day we the people will not forget, despite the left’s attempt to rewrite history. It’s going to be a rocky ride.