Let’s be honest: the proposed Quran burning is no longer about free speech, if it ever was.

I think that most people, most of the time, are pretty reasonable. That’s why they tend not to get all excited about what those other people, the unreasonable ones, are saying. Because these kooks are usually just doing a lot of talking and not much walking. A lot of posing but no closing.

Most of history’s political tragedies started out as a lot of hot air blowing in from the fringe. The tendency of the majority is to wait and see; things will just blow over. The crackpots will come to their senses when they realize they are being ignored.

But the current pack of crackpots aren’t dispersing in the wind, they are growing larger and stronger. And their rhetoric is about as bigoted and hateful as one ever hears. Not from their leaders per se – they are much too politically astute to really speak their minds. But their followers are not compelled towards any such moderation, and yet their leaders never chastise them or redirect them towards a more polite line of debate. Where, for instance, is the Christian Right Wing’s voice condemning this planned book burning in Florida? They may not be openly lauding them, but their followers certainly are. The tip of the iceberg merely hints at the danger below.

I normally don’t like to give these folks too much attention, but If you haven’t had the pleasure of the uncensored vitriol of today’s Islamophobes, then I suggest you check out the comments thread on this article posted on Atlas Shrugs. The author, Pamela Geller, takes the President to task for restricting the speech of the gun-toting pastor and his little church down in Florida.

Of course, all Obama did was strongly urge the ‘church’ to change their plans, as it will likely spark a powder keg of violence. It’s not like he ordered them to cease and desist, or threaten any of the church members with prosecution. But he might.

Taking lead of past chief executives, from Adams to the last Bush, if the president is convinced that someone’s actions pose a significant risk to the security of Americans then he could, and most likely should, take action. The broad, open-ended mandate given the president by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 may even make it easier for him.

But whatever your opinion on this is, it is impossible to justify the kind of rhetoric found on websites like Atlas Shrugs. It is not reasoned. It is not thoughtful. It’s not even, strictly speaking, political. It is no different than the types of words that bigots have used for years. Though I am hesitant to say it; it is nothing more than ‘hate speech’. As repugnant as these words are, I do believe that they have every right to use them. They are protected by the Constitution.

But this is a right that the vast majority of the world’s population does not enjoy. Most of the Muslims who are visibly angry over the proposed book burning do not understand why it is that our government, if it is serious about forging friendships with them, won’t just order the Dove Outreach Center to cancel their plans. They certainly don’t understand why our leaders can’t do this.

So then the burning question is this: is this ‘church’, by destroying these Qurans, attempting to engage in free political speech (the speech the nation’s founders were thinking of) or are they now deliberately inciting people to riot?

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  1. #1 by Christian Beyer on September 9, 2010 - 5:42 pm

    But, according to the latest, breaking news, this may all be academic. It’s unconfirmed but they have decided to at least postpone the Quran burnings if the proposed site for the Manhatten Islamic center is moved, and in a gracious gesture, the Imam has apparently agreed. Unconfirmed at this time.

  2. #2 by 1sttime0ffender on September 9, 2010 - 5:44 pm

    At this point I would call it trying to incite trouble. If there is a message I can’t say they are getting that across with what they propose to do. More than likely they have just gotten some free publicity out of it. Which might have been the plan all along.

  3. #3 by logiopsychopath on September 9, 2010 - 9:36 pm

    Jones has backed down–but he is out of touch with reality. He thinks he holds the key to negotiations to move the controversial Muslim center in New York.

  4. #4 by anon on September 9, 2010 - 10:39 pm

    hate speech has consequences. If a society wants the freedom to allow hate speech, it must also take responsibility of the consequences by ensuring that a fact-based counter-narrative is advanced. Otherwise, it should go the route of countries like Canada and not allow hate speech. Either approach will counter the consequences of hate speech.—-to not have this balance is simply irresponsible.

  5. #5 by anon on September 11, 2010 - 4:57 am

    the L.A. riots triggered by the Rodney King incident……a lot of factors went into the trigger, but it was generally analyzed that frustration, powerlessness and injustice were the root cause…….

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