Burning holy books? Just say no

We needed someone to stop this.

We needed someone to stop this.

(Editor's note: This was written before the pastor of Dove World Outreach Church first said that he was canceling the plans to burn Qurans, and then said the plans were merely suspended.)

Many are urging the nut cases at the Dove World Outreach Church in Florida to abandon their plans to burn the Quran on Saturday (Sept. 11).

In fact, with Angelina Jolie and President Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and Gen. David Petraeus all speaking up, you might wonder who isn’t? All the rest of the Republicans and the ACLU would be the answer. No word from those two camps.

All sorts of reasons have been given to try to get these people to cease and desist. It will incite violence. That's already true. It will endanger American soldiers and possibly American civilians. A sure thing. It will inflame the Muslim street. Count on it. It bears no resemblance to the teachings of Jesus. Absolutely. We’re a tolerant society and this is intolerant. Yep.

In the end, however, what it mostly is, is just plain wrong. It's a violation of basic human decency.

So, someone needs to say, "No." "No, in a decent society we don’t behave this way. No, little boy, you can't do this."

For those who say, "It's a free country, and this is free speech," the answer is, "That’s true, and it is also true that it is illegal to incite a riot." You can't shout, "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

The strange thing, of course, is that what Pastor Terry Jones and his bunch are doing is the mirror image of terrorists also do. In both instances, a miniscule group does outrageous and obscene things and manages to hold an entire society hostage. No one wants to say "no" because it wouldn't be the American thing to do.

I don't know if this is Florida Gov. Charlie Christ's job, or it falls to the local chief of police, or to some church official (if Dove World Outreach is part of anything larger than their family operation), or maybe to all Christians in Gainesville, Fla. Maybe a sweet Gainesville grandmother needs to step up. Or a thousand elementary school students with fire extinguishers.

But someone needs to say, "I'm sorry, Mr. Jones, but we don't behave that way here. Now, please go find something useful to do with yourself."


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors

default profile image

Anthony B. Robinson

Anthony B. Robinson was the Senior Minister of Plymouth Church in downtown Seattle from 1990 to 2004. He was also a member of the Plymouth Housing Group Board. After living for many years in southeast Seattle, he moved recently to Ballard.