Well, it seems Pastor Jones is at it again. Jones, who is pretty much a nobody in terms of importance on a city/state/national level, burned the Qu'ran last month after finding it "guilty" in a mock trial. This action set off a chain of events that left innocent people dead in Afghanistan when Afghan versions of Pastor Jones (aka crazies) rioted and stormed a United Nations compound. How the UN employees they killed were somehow responsible for Pastor Nitwit's actions, I don't know. Nevertheless, they were reacting to Jones' burning of their "holy" book, which he has the right to do of course. However, anyone who is willing to burn a book instead of reading it is an ignorant fool in my eyes. You don't have to agree with something to learn from it in some way. I've never fully read the Qu'ran but I know from what I have read that it is not all evil, infidel slaying, Jew-hating blasphemy. As a matter of fact, there are some very pleasant passages throughout the Qu'ran, just as you can find lovely, peaceful passages in the Old Testament surrounding all the genocide, rape, incest and human sacrifice.
Burning the Qu'ran apparently has not been fulfilling enough for the fundamentalist Christian crusader though as he now has plans to hold an armed rally at one of the America's largest mosques: The Islamic Center of America, located in Dearborn, Michigan, which has a very large Muslim population. Apparently, Jones is in court this morning to hear if his planned rally will be allowed to go forward or not. While I think he has the right to protest whatever he wants, I think he is just doing whatever he can to stir up controversy and keep his name in the news... maybe then he could reach some of the other crazies in our country who might join is merry little band of 70 or so lunatic followers. I'm sure he could find some more followers in Murfreesboro, Tennessee based on an apparently continual cycle of lawsuits they have thrown at a mosque construction project there. (story here: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/04/tennessee-mosque-lawsuit-just-wont-die)
I can understand someone not wanting a mosque built in their town, especially a southern town like Murfreesboro. However, not wanting something is very different than actually filing a lawsuit that claims that Muslims don't have the same First Amendment protections as Christians do. That was the opponents initial argument and it was quickly thrown out because it is nonsense. Now, apparently, they are coming back with another lawsuit that claims that their own rights are going to be violated if the mosque project goes forward. This logic is the same as the logic people use when they say that their rights will be violated if they are required, by law, to not discriminate against people based on sexual orientation. This argument was made in a case in Tennessee last year. I personally find it idiotic to think that you're being discriminated against because you can't discriminate against people based on your personal interpretation of the bible. And, to top it all off, the verse supporting the discrimination is among a larger section that supposedly bans all sorts of other stuff that no one follows any more... but homosexuality is an abomination, that one god really meant us to follow, not like the others.
While these are relatively isolated incidents, there is a larger problem that I don't think is being focused on enough. How is it that our media can allow a crazy old fool to get the attention he has been getting? How is it that he has gained national attention, and caused international violence? It is because people like listening to the extremists and both sides are guilty of this. Muslims hear moron's like Jones talking about burning their "holy" book and they go crazy and kill random, uninvolved people. People in "Christian" America hear of Sharia law in Muslim countries and apparently think to themselves, "Well, shoot! Them Arab Muslims is tryin' to build one of their terror mosques here in Christian Amurrica! They's gonna make us all follow their Sharia law!" People like me hear both sides and think they're all idiots, but I am just as guilty of listening to the extremists and reacting to it. We all need to work on this. As long as we continue to listen and respond to the radical elements and we have politicians who are willing to stoop to that level to get votes we will continue to have this problem.
How about this? We, and I say we because I am pretty sure that even though I am non-religious most moderately religious people would agree with me, stop listening to the literalists and the fundamentalists and stop giving them a place to air their backwards, ignorant views. Maybe we make people read the Qu'ran, the Bible and the Torah in school, preferably in college, but that will only reach a certain percentage of the population and not necessarily the population that is the problem. I bet if people actually read all three they might have a different view of all three religions because not any one of them is free of violence and odd, immoral commands. Maybe we need to start accepting reason and inquiry over blind faith and the burning of books. It should never be socially acceptable to burn or destroy knowledge of any kind but I am pretty sure that there are a decent number of American's who agree with Pastor Mustache. As long as we continue to value faith over evidence there will be people like the crazy Muslim extremists and the ignorant whacko's like Jones and an audience for them to speak to. Not a good indicator of the future if you ask me...