(Editor's Note: the words of the poet, Heinrich Heine, evoking horrors in the past and their prophetic repetition in the world right now, seems a fitting way to introduce this commentary by our friend, Doug Hyden.)
THOLOS SPECIAL FEATURE
by DOUG HYDEN
The question should not be, “Why is burning a few a copies of the Koran in a barrel outside a church in Gainesville wrong?” The question should be, “Why is burning copies of the Koran one-by-one in surgical missile strikes and firefights all right?”
Well, here we are all upset because a few knuckleheads in middle Florida are planning to burn a few copies of the Koran. Liberals like nothing better than to work themselves into high dudgeon over a meaningless charade and make useless feel-good gestures that do…not…change…a… thing.
The proposed Koran burning is another fake story ginned up by the mainstream media’s puppet masters to fill us full of phony outrage and take our minds off the very real issues that we should be paying attention to. It is a phony issue. It is manipulated by the fascists in the Middle East to divert the peoples’ thoughts away from their murderous totalitarian agenda. It is manipulated by the “liberal media” so that we don’t have to ask the really hard questions. Questions like, “Well, if burning a few Korans will hurt our troops, why are our troops in a place where they can be hurt in the first place?” (Remember that old Vietnam poster: “We are the unwilling, led by the incompetent, to do the impossible, for the ungrateful”?)
Let ‘em burn the book, I say, and pay ‘em all the attention they deserve. This is America . This is a free country. They have a right to express their opinions. If I can say I hate phony Christians, they can say they hate Islam. This is what freedom of speech looks like, and it ain’t pretty.
Okay, most Christians don’t express their hatred as straightforwardly as the losers in Gainesville, but if you’ll examine the various creedal statements of just about every mainstream (and most non-mainstream) Christian denomination—from the Roman Catholics to the Presbyterians to the Lutherans to the Methodists to the followers of Brother Billy Bob’s Bible Church to, yes, the United Church of Christ—you’ll find a common theme. Mankind is in need of salvation, and the only road to salvation leads through belief in certain doctrines about Jesus Christ. In other words: Muslims are going to hell. It’s in our creed—the one most of recite every Sunday morning that we spend in church. We’re sticking to the same bottom line as Rev. Jones and his friends; we’re just more polite about it.
But, believe me, while we may be more polite than the Gainesville crowd, the United States hates Islam. What is it but hatred when we give a platform megaphone to a malignant cancer like Sarah Palin or a black-hearted Lilliputian like Glen Beck and their tea party cronies to trumpet some phony anger over a “mosque at ground zero?” What is it but hatred when a mealy-mouthed President Obama and every other cowardly liberal says, “Well, they have the right to build their mosque, but it surely is a stupid idea. Yes, indeed!” The Islamic world doesn’t need us burning a few Korans to know we hate Islam.
When even Republicans like Hailey Barber and John McCain come out against burning the Koran in Gainesville, you realize how easy it is to feign horror and shock—the very idea!—of an American congregation burning the holy books of another religion. What is difficult for us to swallow is the fact that official American policy is to burn the Koran every single day. We do it with tanks. We do it with flame throwers. We do it with “smart bombs,” cruise missiles, and drone airplanes day in and day out. A book is just as badly burned if it is incinerated by a missile strike directed from hundreds of miles away as it is if it is placed in a barrel, doused with Kerosene, and incinerated with a Zippo. That is where we should direct our outrage instead of letting our attention be diverted by a few attention-grabbing fools in Gainesville .