Tolerance.

by , under personal, politics

I’m going to take a break from discussing important things like my kids or the shoes I covet to talk about something even more important. Tolerance.

As I’m sure you all know, Terry Jones, “pastor” for the Dove World Outreach Center planned to burn copies of the Quran on 9/11 because they believe that Islam is evil. I use “pastor” because I deeply feel that any leader of a church that actively encourages intolerance isn’t really religious. I refuse to call Fred Phelps of Westboro anything for that reason. I’m using planned, because earlier today he said he wasn’t going to do it anymore because the imam involved with Park 51 said they were going to move the site if he did. Though frankly, I think it was merely Jones trying to emotionally blackmail them into moving the site- I doubt such a promise was made.

Many people have said that it’s their right to burn the Quran, that there isn’t any law to stop them. Indeed, there isn’t. Just like there aren’t laws that bar Westboro (and on occasion Dove World Outreach Center) from protesting at soldier’s funerals. However, the lack of a law doesn’t mean that the actions are right.

The irony is that fundamentalist Muslims like the ones who call for suicide bombings say that America and Christians want to destroy Islam, and intolerant idiots like Jones only give them examples that they speak the truth. And just as sad, people who react with intolerance like this only reaffirm that they were successful in instilling fear in the hearts of Americans.

There are plenty of people that I deem to be rational who have tried to side with anti-Muslim sentiment by saying that Islam is inherently a violent religion. While we hear reports of stonings and executions from fundamentalist ruled regions, the fact is that there are millions of Muslims who peacefully reside in the United States. Violence comes with nearly any religion. Let’s not forget that Christianity brought about the Crusades which were to demolish non-Christians. Or all the wars that were fought in the Old Testament in God’s name. Or the Spanish Inquisition. Even today, there are people who claim their acts of violence were committed in God’s name. But we discount them as nut cases. Shouldn’t we listen to the many Muslims who say that those who call for violence don’t speak for them and believe that the men behind the terrorists are nut jobs as well?

I guess it all comes down to two things we were taught as kids (well, I was taught, at least)- that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, and that you should never stoop to someone else’s level just to prove a point- all it does is make you the same as them.

My favorite suggestion came from Facebook, where a friend reposting what a friend of his had posted- that if they plan on declaring it Burn the Quran day, that everyone else should declare it Douse a Bonehead in Fire-Retardant Chemicals Day, and yes, show up at the church with fire extinguishers. Since that isn’t against the law either.

However, I think that these two men put it eloquently. Instead of 9/11 being “Burn a Quran Day,” why don’t we make it “Read a Book” day?

I promise, back to fluff tomorrow.