Saturday, September 11, 2010

Really Stupid: Burning the Koran

If you want to get media attention, saying you are going to burn the Koran does that just fine.  But it is wrong on so many levels.  Let's count them, shall we?

1. It anger Muslims, as opposed to persuading them.  There are a lot of serious criticisms that can be made of the Koran and Islam, but burning the Koran isn't a serious criticism.  It's childish.  That pastor should have organized a daylong serious analysis of the Koran's inconsistencies and the difficulties with reading its text that have been acknowledged by Muslim scholars since around 1000 AD.  Would it have converted many Muslims?  No.  But it would not have generated the...firestorm (yes, that's the word) of passionate rage.  It makes America look stupid.

2. Book burning has become a symbol of fascism.  Even the Catholic Church, when it maintained its list of prohibited books, did not burn books.  Great: a Christian pastor uses a symbol of the Nazis.  What were you thinking?  Were you thinking?

3. It provides yet another example of an ignorant Christian pastor for the news media (which is constantly ignoring the many equivalent Islamic radical imams) to use to portray Christianity in a bad light.

4. It almost certainly increases the risk that some Muslim fanatic is going to kill some American somewhere--and there is nothing that we get in return for that increased risk.  If some action that we took actually increased the possibility of winning the war against Islamofascism in exchange for that risk, it might be worth considering.  But what does burning Korans buy us?  Nothing.

I hope this pastor enjoys his brief moment of fame. 


  1. My mother heard an interesting argument on the radio (Alex Ross? subbing/replacing Charles Osgood) regarding book burning.

    It's stupid, because it's pointless. Back in the day of hand-written books, or even the early days of hand-printed books, burning books would have a material effect on people's access to the ideas within the book. Nowadays, that's just not true. You don't notice leftists burning big piles of American flags, just one (or a few). The point there is the symbolism. So why burn a big pile of Korans, when you can get exactly the same result by burning one?

  2. Burning books is stupid, yes--but I see the act not as an attack against Islam/Islamic terrorists and more as an sign of frustration and anger. People see Muslims rioting worldwide, attacking police with seeming impunity. They see Muslim neighborhoods in Europe becoming "no-go" zones where others, including armed authorities, fear to travel. They read about Muslims spouting hate at America, burning her flag and effigies of her leaders past and present. The war in Iraqi cost thousands of lives and did little to end the strife in that country, and the war in Afghanistan appears to be a repeat of the same.

    When the message from Muslims via our media is anti-everything we stand for, coupled with urgings for appeasement and understanding of that message of hate, when the fear that this appeasement will lead only to more hate and violence, and when speaking up about said messages leads seemingly nowhere, that's when the "stupid and futile" gestures start to appear.

  3. Just throwing this idea out there, but it might serve as a method to desensitize muslims against other, less-offensive behavior.
    For example, after the koran burning, do illustrations of muhammed (respectful ones) really seem so bad?
    I do think that treating muslims too deferentially is part of the problem.

  4. I forget where I read this, but an evangelical pastor noted that every city in America has churches with thousands of members that do great good daily--literacy programs, food programs for the destitute, aid for pregnant women and the homeless--that never even get a mention in a local paper. this dolt and his 50 "parishioners" get world-wide publicity for an ignorant stunt.

  5. Clayton, as a person who tries to be a practicing Christian, I also try to ask myself, "Is this something Jesus would do?"

    The closest Jesus ever came to anger or indignation was when He cleared the temple of the money changers.

    Maybe I don't know Jesus well enough, but I cannot imagine Him burning someone else's holy book!!

    As a previous commenter observed... people are frustrated. But Koran-burning certainly isn't a Christian response.

    My opinion.

  6. No, it isn't a Christian response. I would be mean, and call it an Islamic response, but the crazies that create that impression wouldn't burn a Bible. They would burn Christians.

  7. On my own blog I said this: "Paul of Tarsus did not buy figurines of Artemis and smash them in the Ephesian agora. He didn't offend religions by defacing their artifacts - he offended them be presenting ideas they happened to oppose."