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:
Iran: Threat 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.
Terrorism — when people use violence to hurt and scare others over political, ethnic, or religious differences — is the enemy of free thought. Recall that free thought is free of influence from authority, tradition and manipulation. Terrorism is manipulation of the most crude and basic sort.
In the lead-up to the health care reform vote, the Republican party set fire to their extreme-right base. They lied to them, telling them that the health care bill was going to kill babies (even after the Stupak amendment, which explicitly prohibits the bill subsidizing abortion procedures). They said it was an unconstitutional to make health insurance mandatory (despite the other mandatory insurance premiums we all pay… for medicare). They said that Americans hated the bill (yes, more Americans disliked the bill than liked it before it passed, but it was basically an even split) and that Obama was pushing it through despite democratic objection (despite the fact that the majority of elected representatives were for it) and were using dirty legislative tricks to get it passed (as opposed to the Republicans, aka the Filibusticans, who decided that their success is Obama’s failure, and have basically gone on strike — real mature guys).
So in short, they created a monster. PELOSI BAD!
Now their monster has wandered into the town and started threatening Democrats’ families and children, smashing windows, and cutting gas lines. Now they’re faced with a tough decision, where the ethical thing is to take back their lies, ask for peace and understanding, and eat some crow. I’m not saying that opposing the health care bill is wrong per se. But how they went about it, inflaming the extreme wing of their base to violence (“We came unarmed (this time)” comes to mind), was wrong.
So now they’ve created terrorists. Terrorists. Terrorists. Terrorists. People who threaten violence and destroy property to scare others into submission to their ideology are terrorists.
Why won’t the media call them terrorists? That’s my question. I think they’re cowards.
Update: Republican response to the violence. Not adequate.