A Florida pastor's plan to burn copies of the Quran, the holy book of the Islam religion, has succeeded in promoting a minor Christian church of about 50 members.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the pastor's right to burn anything he wants within the scope of local laws, whether it be the Quran, the Holy Bible or the American flag for that matter.
As a staunch defender of the First Amendment, we defend the right of any American to speak one's belief.
While the First Amendment right here is strong, the wisdom of the proposed burning is weak, if not inexcusable.
The proposed Quran burning is ill-advised for many reasons.
- Foremost, this burning proposal puts American troops and diplomats in harm's way. Gen. David Petraeus was correct in stating the burning "could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan."
Any action endangering any U.S. troops and any specific war effort is ill-advised. Many would even classify any such an action as "Un-American."
- The proposal seeks to take advantage of the somber anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and all of the victims at the World Trade Center in New York, at the Pentagon in Washington and at an airplane crash site in a Pennsylvania field. This burning proposal is insulting to these victims and their families.
- This burning proposal is simply an act of religious intolerance. The excuse that some Muslims are intolerant does not make it right for others to be just as intolerant. The intolerance of religious bigotry has played a major role in many of history's wars.
- The excuse that some Americans are supportive of the burning proposal does not make it right either. Many Americans, if not majorities, at one time or another supported slavery, Jim Crow legislation, segregation and the Japanese Americans internment of World War II, just to name a few examples. Historically, all four examples have been judged as morally wrong.
- This specific pastor has a poor record. He has previously ruled his congregations by requiring "blind obedience," according to the German magazine Spiegel Online. The pastor and his wife reportedly have claimed to be appointed by God and any opposition was "a crime against the Lord." Sounds more like a dictator of hatred.
This burning in reality only endangers American troops and the U.S. war effort.
All Americans should reflect long and hard on those dangers.