Monday, April 11, 2011

Burning half a million Korans

I don't know about this idea, since I don't think it will have any impact at all. It probably won't even get noticed. But in general, I agree with him.

I have no respect for Pastor Terry Jones, but he was well within his First Amendment rights to burn a Koran - or a Bible or an American flag, for that matter. A proper response to free speech is more free speech, not violence.

There is no excuse for the violence - the murders - which occurred in Afghanistan as a result of this. And Terry Jones, the religious nut in Florida, is not responsible for what the religious nuts over there did to people, not at all.

In general, I'm disappointed in the reaction to this in the West, especially among our leaders. It was the same way with the cartoon "controversy." The fact is, we should be standing up for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. We should make that very clear, no matter what.

Yes, I'm sorry if your feelings were hurt. Too bad. That happens sometimes, but get over it. In modern democracies, we have rights - rights which you enjoy, too. You can worship as you please and you can say what you want. Go ahead, bitch about something. You have that right. But killing people, especially innocent people? Sorry, we've learned better than that.

In the West, we've moved out of the Dark Ages. Maybe these lunatics should try it sometime. But, either way, we're not going to accomplish anything with appeasement. If violence gets terrorists what they want, they'll continue using it.

The fact is, religions don't have rights. People have rights, but they don't have the right not to get their feelings hurt. (Note that Muslims aren't the only ones pushing a contrary view. The Catholic Church is also trying to ban criticism.) People do have the right to peacefully express their views, no matter how crazy they might be - and no matter how much anyone else dislikes that expression.

We need to stand up for our own values. Do you think Muslims are too stupid to understand freedom of religion and freedom of speech? I don't, not if it's explained to them. (Of course, American Muslims generally understand it already.) Do you think Afghans are too stupid to understand these things? I don't believe that, either - not most of them.

Unfortunately, they live in a primitive Dark Age society. They're poorly educated, and they tend not to hear why we support individual freedoms. So the last thing we should do is back down from these freedoms ourselves. Yes, you can regret that their feelings were hurt, but we must stand firmly for our own rights.

It just doesn't make any difference that Pastor Jones is a complete loon himself. He has the right to do what he did, and he should have that right. After all, freedom of speech is designed to protect unpopular speech. That's the whole point, since popular speech doesn't need protecting. These murders weren't Jones' fault.

I really dislike the widespread bigotry against Muslims, but in this case, it was the Afghan rioters who were completely in the wrong. There's absolutely no doubt about that. There's just no excuse for that kind of behavior. Jones wasn't in the wrong, those Dark Age barbarians were.

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