Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Plan to Burn Copies of The Koran on September 11 Still on

Just because you have a legal right to do something does not mean that you should do it. I opine the same for the plans to burn copies of the Koran as is my thought on the Cordoba or Ground Zero Mosque. The fact that there is a different danger level for each action is proof of exactly how tolerant we are; especially in comparison.

John Hinderaker opines on the perverse incentives in giving in to the 'crazies'.


"What gives rise to this dilemma, of course, is the fanaticism of radical Muslims, who have, indeed, responded violently to real or perceived slights to their religion. There is no parallel phenomenon with other religions. The Taliban blew up ancient statues of Buddha without worrying for a moment that Buddhists would react violently. Saudi Arabia destroys Bibles as a matter of policy, but it never occurs to the Saudis to fear mobs of rampaging Christians--or even Congressional disfavor in this mostly-Christian nation.

Perversely, the crazier radical Muslims behave, the more it benefits them. Today it is burning Korans, but the broader objective is to outlaw, de facto, any criticism of Islam. Radical Muslims want to establish a zone of protection around Islam that insulates it against the critiques to which everything else--not just other religions--is subject. If that isn't the laying of an important foundation stone of sharia, what is it? And if there is one religion that is uniquely exempted from scrutiny or criticism, is it absurd to say that that religion is "established" in the constitutional sense?

Of course, the First Amendment only prohibits the establishment of a religion by government. Which is where we came in--there is a fundamental difference between my telling Terry Jones, senior minister at the Dove World Outreach Center, that a mass Koran-burning is a bad idea, and General Petraeus saying the same thing. Especially when Petraeus, probably the most respected person in the federal government, warns that the likely effect is to endanger our troops. In many contexts, taking actions that endanger the troops would be regarded as giving aid and comfort to the enemy, a concept that Petraeus came uncomfortably close to endorsing.

Petraeus didn't mean to step over the line, I'm sure, and other military officers have tried to disclaim any intent to chill Americans' free speech rights

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