Reason Freely

Wackjob Terry Jones

Posted in news by reasonfreely on September 13, 2010

Most of the United States, from rightys to leftys, believe that Pastor Terry Jones is a wackjob extremist moron.  He was planning to burn a stack of Korans at the end of Ramadan on 9/11 to tell the “Islamofascists” that we “aren’t going to take it anymore” (quoting Jones, not Rollins).

Jones is clearly outside the mainstream.  His views don’t represent basically anyone who lives in the USA, and I applaud mainstream Christianity for publicly and emphatically distancing themselves from this loon.  But…

…He kinda made a point.  Unintentionally.

Terrorists — and here I refer to Jones as a terrorist, so keep that in mind — do what they do to provoke overreactions from their enemies and to provoke violence on both sides.  Now, Terry Jones didn’t plan to do anything illegal in the US, but what he did is a very serious crime in some of the countries he was aiming at infuriating.  So when Jones plotted his burning, he was engaging in a form of terrorism.  It certainly horrified Muslims, and that’s the point he made.  And it provoked violence.  Specifically, it got the following reactions:

AfghanistanMass protests, blocked roads, clashes with security forces, deaths and injuries, attack on a NATO base, arson.

Pakistan: Pakistani Christians burned an effigy of Jones; as did Muslims; lawyers are burning Amrican flags in the streets.

IranThreat of “a crushing response by Muslims across the world.” And conspiracy theories by President Ahmadinejad: “[The proposed burning is a] Zionist plot that is against the teachings of all divine prophets. Zionists and their supporters are on their way to collapse and dissolution and such last-ditch actions will not save them, but multiply the pace of their fall and annihilation.” And the Ayatollahs put out a hit on anyone who burns a Koran.

‘Those who can make you believe absurdities

can make you commit atrocities.’

– Voltaire, 1694-1778

Terry Jones has proven that the men who shout in the streets that they are our (America’s) dire enemies, are a mix of absurd beliefs and atrocious actions.  This is absurd:

  • Rioting in the streets as a result of a canceled threat of burning some books.
  • Threats of murder, and even orders to murder someone for burning a book.
  • Burning flags and effigies in the streets because someone said they would burn a book.
  • Threats of worldwide violence, even acts of war, for burning a book.
  • Attacking a NATO base, assaulting soldiers of your own country, and arson because someone disrespected a book.

This is ridiculous.  Let’s follow the logic here…

If the book represented them, as a nation, and someone burned it, it would be an insult.  I understand metaphors and symbols.  That would be a big insult, worthy of retributive insults.  Maybe a symbolic retributive burning, like the Pakistanis burning American flags and effigies.  Sure.  Jones didn’t go through with it, but it was still an insult, so some non-violent protest action is merited.  Yet there were protests over the weekend attacking NATO bases, burning buildings, and physical attacks ending in deaths.  Plus, Iranian Ayatollahs threatened death to anyone who burned the Koran.  That’s atrocious.

Let’s face it, the Koran is just a book.  Even if you believe the self-deification of Mohammed contained therein, the book is still just a book.  It may be a symbolic representation of Muslims worldwide, but it’s not a person.  So Terry Jones made a point, in that way that terrorists do:  He proved that the religious zealots in Afghanistan and Iran irrationally place their reverence for a symbol over their respect for peace and human life.  But in doing so, Jones inflamed those atavistic impulses.

I can blame Terry Jones for the weakened relations between Americans and Afghans and the relatively rational flag-and-effigy burning; but I don’t blame him for the death and destruction following his hateful threat, like some will.  I blame religious zealots in Afghanistan and their own irrational beliefs.  The fault lies in the actual perpetrators of violence, and always should.

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