In the most base definition of the first amendment, you have the right as an American citizen, to assemble. And you have the right to practice your religion. You even have the right to use your religion to assemble and, with supreme bigotry that even the savior you so often cite disapproves of, burn other people’s religious tomes and call it patriotism.
And maybe we are wrong, my friends. We, as a nation, are wrong to let ourselves be swept up in the bigoted rants and acts of a person hungry for a spotlight. And we are wrong to pay attention to the frenzy that popular media is only too happy to create. We are wrong in letting this become the headline that it is.
We are wrong in giving an irate man with raging prejudice an audience.
But, the deed is done. The crazy rant has been proclaimed and reinforced. The media has grabbed hold and dared the man to go forth or not go forth it. And we hopped onboard to choose sides and foam at the mouth.
So, now what? Now, that we’ve given the madman a national pulpit to spew venom, what can we do?
Here is my suggestion. Why not take Pastor Terry Jones’ misguided lead and, like he skews the words in his Bible to support his prejudice, let’s take his action and skew it to support a peaceful (one might say, a more spiritual) cause.
See, maybe Pastor Terry Jones is right (but, not really). Maybe his action is right- even if unintentionally so.
Let’s all take part. Let’s go ahead and burn Qurans. But, let’s not stop there. Let’s burn all Bibles, too. And all copies of the Tanakh and the Buddhavacana and the Sutras and the Vedas and the Ginza Rba and the Tao Te Ching and the Divine Principle and the Avesta and the Yazidi Black Book and Dianetics and the Adi Granth and the Kojiki and the Siddhantha Shikhamani and the Satanic Bible and any other religious tomes.
(Yes, Pastor Terry Jones, there are even other religions.)
Maybe this is the movement we should all get behind as Americans and as citizens of the world and believers in something more. Because, let’s be honest. One could almost say that at least one of those good books was cited as a reason for almost every war and/or genocidal annihilation this world has ever seen. And that’s a fact. And not a fact in the misguided variety of, “every practicing Muslim raised their hand and voted to destroy the World Trade Center.”
We have been fighting holy wars for as long as recorded history and we have so frequently misused and mis-cited the passages that it’s hard to know for certain if what we’re ranting and fighting about is even connected to those books anymore.
How many people have ever even read any of the books belonging to “other evil religions”? And, yet, somehow we know they are evil and they want evil things. How many people, for that matter, have even thoroughly read through the text of their own religion word for word (and with an eye to the historical context of the words)? And, yet, so many people cower behind their unread books to protect their fears and prejudices.
So, maybe the Pastor Terry Jones is right (in only the basest of base sense). Let’s burn all the beautiful ancient words of peace because we can only see violence and prejudice in them. For too long we have let fanatics skip over lessons of peace in favor of the spoils of war and their own power and vanity- which seems the very definition of blasphemy.
And, while we’re at it, let’s stop brandishing our bigotry and ducking behind a flag and calling that freedom. Because that is not freedom. That is not patriotism. That is an insult to our founding fathers and each and every person who laid down their life for freedom.
It is easy to point fingers. We could point fingers back and forth forever and never settle a single ancient battle. Those wars should not and do not have to be ours. Let's start fresh. Let's take the power out of the hands of fanatics and extremists and call it a truce.
Let's just begin with peace.
When did words on a page matter more than what’s inside a person? That's where we should look for the word of God.
So, you may be right, pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center and author of Islam is the Devil (but, only in a most base sense that you did not even intend to mean).
But, you are most certainly wrong about one thing:
Islam is not the Devil. Prejudice and Ignorance are.
*A Very Special Postscript: All joking, sarcasm, and/or colorful rhetoric aside; it is important to remember that, if a person wants to make a positive change, they should think of "burning" in a metaphorical sense. Because, citing a fairly recent parable called 'How Nazism got its start', nothing good ever came from the burning of books.
Originally Posted On Facebook.