Blame The Afghan Rioters For Murder, But Condemn The Demagogues Too

The only people responsible for the murders in Afghanistan are the people who committed them, but the demagogues like Terry Jones deserve condemnation as well.

The protests in Afghanistan over the burning of the Koran more than three weeks ago in Florida are spreading and show no sign of letting up:

Hundreds of people have taken to Afghanistan’s streets in fresh protests against a Quran burning in the United States, as the UN vowed a deadly attack on its staff would not derail its work.

At least two people were killed and 20 others injured in Sunday’s protests, local officials said.

Demonstrations occurred in the main southern city of Kandahar as well as Jalalabad, in the east, officials said, as anger sparked by the burning of Islam’s holy book spread.

In Kandahar, one person was killed when protesters set fire to a gas cylinder causing an explosion. Protesters also attacked a police traffic booth, said Al Jazeera correspondent Hashem Ahelbarra.

“We are getting reports of demonstrators attacking the police,” our correspondent said. “The burning of the Quran has spread fires of unrest and they are saying that they will take it to different cities attacking UN offices and military bases.”

The Taliban said in a statement emailed to media outlets that the US and other Western countries have wrongly excused the burning a Quran by the pastor of a Florida church on March 20 as freedom of speech and that Afghans “cannot accept this un-Islamic act”.

President Obama, meanwhile, issued a statement yesterday condemning both the protests and the Koran burning:

Today, the American people honor those who were lost in the attack on the United Nations in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.

Once again, we extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who were killed, and to the people of the nations that they came from.

The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry.

However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous, and an affront to human decency and dignity.

No religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading of innocent people, and there is no justification for such a dishonorable and deplorable act.

For his own part, Terry Jones  is unrepentant and already talking about another stunt “trial” involving Islam:

Despite clear evidence that his actions have led to multiple murders and widespread violence in the Middle East, controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones has vowed to step up his provocative campaign against Islam.

The radical pastor said that he was considering putting Islamic prophet Mohammed ‘on trial’ for his next ‘day of judgement’ publicity stunt.

His last, in which he oversaw the burning of a copy of the Koran after a six-hour mock trial, has been directly responsible for a wave of violence that began last night and has left 30 people dead and more than 150 injured.

The vilified pastor remains unrepentant about his actions, and has even hinted that he will take his provocative stance further.

He said in an interview:  ‘It is definitely a consideration to stage a trial on the life of Mohammed in the future.’

Such a move would trigger further violent protests in the Muslim world – even in more moderate Islamic states.

But Mr Jones shows no signs of backing down, refusing to admit the violence is his fault, and apparently proud of his actions.

In an interview at his Dove World Outreach Center, the pastor at least admitted that he was saddened by the Afghan attacks – but added that he would burn the Koran again if given the chance.

He told the New York Times: ‘It was intended to stir the pot; if you don’t shake the boat, everyone will stay in their complacency.

And stirring the pot seems to be all that Jones is interested in doing, regardless of the consequences. In addition to this threatened “trial” of Muhammed, Jones also plans to be in Dearborn, Michigan, the home of the largest Muslim population in the United States, where he will lead a protest outside a mosque on Good Friday. Clearly, this guy relishes in causing controversy and getting media attention in the process.

I agree with James Joyner and Ed Morrissey that the responsibility for the murders that occurred during the rioting in Afghanistan lie principally, if not solely, with the men who committed them. However, Jones strikes me as deserving of at least moral approbation for engaging in an activity that he reasonably should have known would be highly offensive to a large number of people and could put Americans, American troops, and others in danger throughout the Muslim world.  Burning a Koran as part of a stunt trial is clearly constitutionally protected speech, but the value of that speech is, at best, minimal. As James noted yesterday, it adds nothing to any reasonable debate. In the end, Terry Jones is no different from the Westboro Baptist Church group, he has a right to say what he says, but he deserves to be condemned for saying it.

The difference between this matter and the Westboro Baptist Church, though, is that Jones’s actions appear to be having an impact on the image of the United States in an already unstable country engulfed in a war that we’re fighting for unclear reasons. The event was exploited by Hamid Karzai, the President of Pakistan,  and others, for no other purpose it seems than to whip up the populist mobs. Jones lit the fire, they poured gasoline on it. As I’ve said before, I hope they’re all proud of themselves.

 

FILED UNDER: Asia, Islam, Law and the Courts, Religion, US Politics, World Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    I think President Obama’s statement gets it almost exactly right. Jones should be condemned for his intolerance and bigotry and the murderers should be condemned for evil acts.

  2. James Joyner says:

    I say “almost” because I’m leery of the desecration argument. A book or scroll is sacred only to those who imbue it with that value. I think the Koran and the Bible are just books which happen to espouse some great eternal values but also some horrendous ideas long since rejected by modern society. The problem with the Koran is that it’s revered mostly in illiterate, backwards societies whereas the Bible is mostly interpreted through more modern eyes, twisting the original words to support modern values.

  3. john personna says:

    My goodness. How on earth can you square this with your previous arguments James?

    Was that the reason for your second post?

    Why should Jones be condemned if he has no moral responsibility?

    What is he being condemned for?

    I of course enjoy the consistent position that Jones has some moral responsibility (though certainly heaps less than murders), and for that reason he should be condemned (figuratively speaking, of course).

  4. James Joyner says:

    @john personna : I’ve been making two discrete points from the beginning:

    1. Jones is a bigoted cretin. Condemn him for this.

    2. The fact that people murdered innocent third parties because they were angered by Jones’ speech is not something for which we can hold Jones morally blameworthy.

    We can simultaneously condemn Jones as a dirtbag and absolve him of responsibility for evil that others do in response.

  5. Jay Tea says:

    I disapprove of what the pastor did, but I will defend to the death his right to do it.

    Well, to be honest, I don’t really disapprove of it. But it seemed appropriate to remind folks of that sentiment.

    J.

  6. Dissenter says:

    My comment from the previous article on this subject:

    Isn’t it interesting that much attention is given Muslim terror when someone like Jones happens along. Ladies and Gentlemen, Muslims need no inducement such as Jones’ stupid action in order to burn Christian churches and Bibles and oppress and kill Christians (or just about anybody); they do these things on an almost daily basis: in Iran, Indonesia, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. In Saudi Arabia one cannot even be visibly Christian. Such killing, pillaging, and burning are the things Islam does, has been doing since the 7th century. Were was such a conversation as this when 21 Coptic Christians were blown to pieces in Egypt a few months ago? And I could ask this kind of question two or three times about every Muslim country listed above. Yet we Americans save our rant for the likes of Jones. God help us!

  7. Just curious, but isn’t there a free speech argument that can be made here for Mr. Jones? Don’t have to agree or support him any more than those who burn the US flag, but he would seem to have every right to do so, or am I missing something?

  8. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Burning a Koran as part of a stunt trial is clearly constitutionally protected speech, but the value of that speech is, at best, minimal….

    Some idiot can place a crucifix in a jar of urine but instead of condemning it, it is called art. Bill Maher can make a film mocking Christians and it’s called a highly acclaimed work of a comic genius. Yet if anyone says anything even marginally critical of Islam or the Koran, and thereby inflaming the followers of the peaceful religion of Islam, they deserve ridicule and confemnation of the highest order???

    I am thoroughly disgusted of this double standard. The fact is that the Muslims look for any reason to be offended as justification for their horrendous acts of violence. They even honor those who kill the infidels with its promise of a place in paradise.

    And instead of forcefully condemning these acts of violence, whatever the provocation, we are fed this line of “well, yes they are bad but…” as if somehow we must understand why these reactions to the provocations are totally reasonable.

    I have an alternative idea. Instead of being afraid of provoking the Muslims, how about we make them scared shitless to even open their mouths to complain let alone demonstrate in any way. These Muslims are no more than common schoolyard bullys and the best way to deal with a bully is to pound him into the dirt with the promise to do it again should he ever get up.

    You may not agree with the actions of Terry Jones but you should be defending his actions to exercise his constitutional rights instead of portraying him as being responsible in any way for the stupidity of these Muslims. Whatever happened to the American concept of “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”?

    Or have the Americans become a nation of cowards?

  9. john personna says:

    Why is being a “bigoted cretin” bad, James?

    If it is non-evil, surely it is within everyone’s rights.

  10. john personna says:

    I’ll answer.

    Like a few thousand years ago, someone noticed that “bigoted cretins” spawned more “bigoted cretin” and increasing cycles of violence.

    Better they thought, to nip it in the bud, and just declare “bigoted cretin” bad, before it all gets going.

    James’ preposterous argument is that “bigoted cretin” is just bad in some crazy aesthetic sense, and has nothing to do with 10,000 years of human history.

  11. . A book or scroll is sacred only to those who imbue it with that value. I think the Koran and the Bible are just books which happen to espouse some great eternal values but also some horrendous ideas long since rejected by modern society. The problem with the Koran is that it’s revered mostly in illiterate, backwards societies whereas the Bible is mostly interpreted through more modern eyes, twisting the original words to support modern values

    .

    The other difference is that the Koran is viewed differently by Muslims than most Christians view the Bible. The better comparison to the way Muslims view the Koran would be the Catholic/Orthodox view on the Eucharist, which sees it as being the literal body and blood of Christ.

  12. john personna says:

    Oh, and Pastor Jones came fresh into this world, with no knowledge that bigotry and inciteful behavior leads to violence.

    His defenders also, fresh to this world, were taken totally by surprise.

  13. You may not agree with the actions of Terry Jones but you should be defending his actions to exercise his constitutional rights instead of portraying him as being responsible in any way for the stupidity of these Muslims. Whatever happened to the American concept of “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”?

    Where in my post did you see me say that Jones didn’t have the right to do what he did? I said quite the opposite as a matter of fact. That doesn’t mean that I am required to stand up an applaud when he does something that offends people solely for the purpose of offending and inflaming them. He is, as I said, the same as the idiots from the Westboro Baptist Church. He has a right to speak, I have a right to call him an ignorant, bigoted cretin.

  14. john personna says:

    Patrick, what works within our country, our system of values and expectations, is not the same as what works internationally.

    If we just decide to burn more Korans, what do we do? I’d like to know. Do we go to war with every culture that objects, and make them submit to our values? Or do we withdraw, and leave them to their separate and alternately defined moral landscape?

    (I actually think we should both condemn Jones and withdraw, YMMV.)

  15. Jay Tea says:

    Here’s the message, stripped of rationalizing and evasion:

    “Don’t piss off the crazy dangerous people, because they will do crazy, dangerous things. Because if you do piss off the crazy, dangerous people and they do crazy, dangerous things, we’ll blame you, because we don’t dare blame the crazy, dangerous people or they might do crazy, dangerous things against us.”

    J.

  16. george says:

    Patrick, what works within our country, our system of values and expectations, is not the same as what works internationally.

    A significant portion of the international community (the middle east) is against abortion and is against homosexuality. So do we change our system of values to accommodate them? Curiously enough, there are definite religious elements in our society who would welcome such a measure.

    Its wrong to go and impose our values on other countries. Its just as wrong to allow them to impose their values on us. Burning the Koran (or any other book) is silly; its a symbolic act which says much more about the burners than what’s being burnt (look at the list of books which have been publicly burnt over the last five decades). But its definitely not worth giving up our right to do so just to keep easily offended people happy. They have a definite right to forbid such burning in their own country. They have none to forbid it outside their borders, just as we should have no right to impose our laws on them.

    Jones is an idiot. But if he has blame, then the media which reported it is just as idiotic and culpable.

    And in any case, I think this has much more to do with the occupation than religious values about the book – there are over a billion Muslims in the world. Most of them seem to have done the equivalent of rolling their eyes, thinking Jones is an idiot, and moving on. The only place it caused a problem is an occupied country … I’d argue that says it all.

  17. john personna says:

    Just curious Jay, have you found anyone who really doesn’t blame the murders much, much, much, much, more than the inciters?

    Or are your feelers just up, and you worry that *any* condemnation of “bigoted cretins” must exonerate the next “bigoted cretins” and “murders” in the loop?

    Here’s what this discussion has allowed me to refine:

    We oppose bigoted cretins because we know that for 10,000 years they have been spawning cycles of violence. That said, when we actually capture an example, with cause and effect, where one bigoted cretin did spawn some specific violence … some will tell us we must play dumb. No no no, the bigoted cretin is in no way morally responsible.

  18. Jay Tea says:

    I think I’m going to repeat something I came up with several years ago.

    Do I, as a non-Muslim living in a non-Muslim nation, have the right to disobey Muslim laws?

    J.

  19. john personna says:

    George, you have a tremendous ability to misread my posts.

    Please illustrate where our policies on abortion and homosexuality lead to violence abroad.

  20. john personna says:

    “Do I, as a non-Muslim living in a non-Muslim nation, have the right to disobey Muslim laws?”

    I’d guess we all do every day, though I’m not sure of the specifics. I had a glass of wine yesterday.

  21. steve says:

    “Some idiot can place a crucifix in a jar of urine but instead of condemning it, it is called art.”

    This has been repeatedly condemned.

    “Bill Maher can make a film mocking Christians and it’s called a highly acclaimed work of a comic genius.”

    Few went to see it. The most effective condemnation, no? Besides, it was heavily criticized also.

    “Yet if anyone says anything even marginally critical of Islam or the Koran”

    people say bad things about Islam all of the time, even today. Did you miss the mosque controversy or King’s hearings. People do it openly and the Muslims do not go out and riot.

    “And instead of forcefully condemning these acts of violence”

    AFAICT, everyone has condemned the killings. Doug has cited Obama’s condemnation. Feel free to cite anyone who is praising these killings.

    “You may not agree with the actions of Terry Jones but you should be defending his actions to exercise his constitutional right”

    Jones has just as much of right to be an ass as Charlie Sheen, Maher, Trump or whomever. OTOH, I and anyone else who wants to can criticize Jones. I think the guy is a cretin and ignorant. That seems to be what you are objecting to here. I guess this is a legacy from the PC debate. People think they get to say whatever they want, without a critical response. When people dare to differ or criticize, the criticisms are not responded to with reasoned argument, just whining about PC.

    Steve

  22. PD Shaw says:

    Doug makes a good point, the Bible is not a sacred object in the same sense the Koran is for Muslims. For Christians, it is the text that is sacred, for Muslims it is both the text and the book itself which is, the book taking on many attributes Christians reserve solely for Jesus Christ. The nature of the host at the point of transubstantiation is the closest you can get.

    The analogies start to unravel for me since the comparison can barely be made.

  23. Jay Tea says:

    john, did we outlaw Scorsese films after Reagan was shot? Ban “The Turner Diaries” after Oklahoma City? Blame Salinger for the assassination of John Lennon?

    The pastor did this as a publicity stunt, and your response is to give him more attention. That’ll show him. What sheer genius.

    Someone suggested that from now on, every time there’s an act of Islamist terrorism, we burn one Koran for each innocent killed. That ought to make a lot of money for the publishers…

    J.

  24. Jay Tea says:

    PD, you make a good case for why someone ought to respect the Koran. But under no circumstances should that be in any way compelled. If I buy a Koran, it’s mine to do with as I wish, and I don’t care what threats someone makes — I will NOT compromise my rights to do with as I wish with my property.

    Hey, I own a Koran. How much are those cheapo disposable barbecue grills?

    J.

  25. anjin-san says:

    > 1. Jones is a bigoted cretin

    He is also the guy who shouted “fire” in a crowded theater. His purpose was to provoke, and it worked.

  26. Dissenter says:

    “The better comparison to the way Muslims view the Koran would be the Catholic/Orthodox view on the Eucharist, which sees it as being the literal body and blood of Christ.”

    Good illustration, Doug. Interestingly, it is not infrequent that acts of sacrilege are committed against the Sacrament of the Eucharist, but Catholics are not really known to react with murder and mayhem. But for Muslims it takes far less — most of the time hardly anything — to ignite their killing sprees. The Pope’s words at Regensburg for instance, words meant to challenge Muslims to come to the table of reason, were enough to see a number of people dead in a number of places throughout the world.

    But what about Patrick’s point above (not really answered by John)? Where are the “artists” who would dare to put the Koran in a jar of urine or smear elephant dung over a picture of Muhammed (as one “artist” did to an image of the Virgin Mary) or depict Muhammed (as was done to Christ) as a transvestite having gay sex? There was a chorus of protest over the Danish cartoons of Muhammed, but what “art museum” in NYC would display any of the above pieces of nonsense if they depicted Muhammed? And yet the literati congratulate themselves on their “courage” at defying the Catholic Church with their depraved kitch. But again, these deluded idiots don’t get their throats cut, their heads chopped off. Catholics in Malta don’t kill American tourists because someone here thinks it artistic to sink a crucifix into urine. We walk on pins and needles lest we offend Muslims and yet some openly mock any other religion, especially Christianity. Why is Islam protected? Why is Jones condemned but not anti-Christian “artists”? Is it not because we all know that Muslims can be, and often are murderous over little or nothing, but Christians aren’t? Mocking Catholicism requires no courage; mocking Islam one does at the risk of his life.

  27. Tano says:

    No one that I have read has absolved, in any way, the actual murderers, despite what the deeply dishonest propagandists of the right are saying.

    Similarly, no one that I have read has advocated that Jones have his liberty taken away by the government – no one has threatened to trample on his First Amendment rights – once again, despite the rhetoric from the right.

    But there does seem to be some tortured logic, best epitomized by James’s various pronouncements – wherein although one can acknowledge that Jones is a “cretin” and a “bigot” he is somehow absolved from moral culpability from the consequences of his acts.

    As his statements after the fact make clear – he clearly anticipated the consequences of his acts, in fact he performed his act precisely to provoke those very consequences – “to prove my point”. He is not much better than someone who runs into a boisterous crowd of drunken Nazis and pointed out the identity of a nearby Jew, who then got killed. He is fully morally culpable for the deaths of those innocents, and it is absolute moral blindness to deny it.

  28. Tano says:

    “Don’t piss off the crazy dangerous people, because they will do crazy, dangerous things. Because if you do piss off the crazy, dangerous people and they do crazy, dangerous things, we’ll blame you, because we don’t dare blame the crazy, dangerous people or they might do crazy, dangerous things against us.”

    What utter and complete BS.
    Find me one person, ONE PERSON, who has addressed this issue and has shown the slightest hesitation in placing primary and unnuanced blame on the actual murderers. Your statement descends to the level of a blatant lie.

  29. Herb says:

    Jay, I think you’re getting the wrong message. I can see how you’re getting this:

    ““Don’t piss off the crazy dangerous people, because they will do crazy, dangerous things.”

    But there’s a bigger, more simple message staring back at us: “Don’t be a jerk.”

    Just think of how great the world would be if jerks weren’t burning holy books or killing people in riots.

  30. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: Bigoted cretinism is bad because it treats peoples as objects rather than individual persons. Bigoted cretinism is, however, widespread and generally non-violent. I’m not much familiar with Jones outside his occasional coming onto the national radar with these Koran burning stunts, and don’t claim to be familiar with the whole milieu of his preaching. But I haven’t gathered that he’s the equivalent of a Klan leader, urging people to go out and kill Muslims.

    @anjin-san: I don’t get the fire in a crowded theater analogy. It’s a non-malevolent human tendency to panic and run for the doors when they believe they’re in danger of being burned alive. And falsely shouting “Fire!” conveys zero political or argumentative content.

    By comparison, there’s no instinct of which I’m aware that leads people to riot and commit murder against random strangers when someone thousands of miles away burns a book. And burning a Koran to express the notion that its contents are destructive is a powerful way to convey a real, if ill-conceived, message.

  31. rodney dill says:

    For Christians, it is the text that is sacred, for Muslims it is both the text and the book itself which is, the book taking on many attributes Christians reserve solely for Jesus Christ. The nature of the host at the point of transubstantiation is the closest you can get.

    The analogy doesn’t unravel, it is just shifted. Catholics and some Christians would be offended by someone desecrating the host, but I doubt there would be riots or be-headings. Could there be protests? possibly.

  32. PD Shaw says:

    “He is also the guy who shouted “fire” in a crowded theater.”

    Why are progressives so taken in with a conception of the limits of free speech intended to rationalize jailing draft protesters?

    (The full phrase is “falsely shouting fire.” Holmes had no problem deciding that reds and draft dodgers were uttering falsehoods because of his own ideological blinders. Progressives have the same certainty here)

  33. Tano says:

    Catholics and some Christians would be offended by someone desecrating the host, but I doubt there would be riots or be-headings.

    Are you sure? In the case where there might be a million Muslim troops in our country (to get the proportions right) playing a determinative role in what government would lead our nation, and doing so, supposedly, for our own good, all the while proclaiming their full respect for our culture and tradition? And then one of their “clerics” back home put the lie to all that by desecrating hosts – and the reflex of so many other Muslims would be to defend that persons right to do so? You might not get out your long sword and start hacking away at the nearest Muslim, but I imagine you are would be quite a bit more riled up than if it were to happen today – and others amongst out fellow countrymen might be quite willing to go further than you.

  34. matt says:

    Dissenter : Hi there I thought I should point you towards Northern Ireland where the religious tension between Protestant and Catholics continues to simmer with a recent bombing. Or here in the USA where Christian fanatics have shot a few people over abortions gays etc. My point is that there are stupid people and fanatics world wide 😛 There is no doubt though that middle east and south Asia has whole swaths of area that are in dire need of “growing up” both technologically and culturally so certainly there is a higher degree of stupid and fanaticism in those areas.

    There was a chorus of protest over the Danish cartoons of Muhammed,

    What you probably don’t realize is that the chorus of protests were fed by false images made by certain agitators showing Muhammad engaging in gay sex and such which is pretty much what you’re asking for. It was those images that pissed off the Muslim world more so then any of the real cartoons and that was exactly the response certain people wanted.

  35. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    I think the guy is a cretin and ignorant. That seems to be what you are objecting to here.

    Nope, not even close. What I am objecting to is that every time someone reports on atrocities conducted by Muslims, it is always couched in terms ” well yeah, they did bad but it’s understandable because they were provoked” or that the provocation is just as bad or worse than the violence it created. Want some examples from above? How about this:

    But there’s a bigger, more simple message staring back at us: “Don’t be a jerk.”

    See, the simple message is don’t be a jerk because Muslims will kill someone. Or how about this:

    …the responsibility for the murders that occurred during the rioting in Afghanistan lie principally, if not solely, with the men who committed them. However, Jones strikes me as deserving of at least moral approbation for engaging in an activity that he reasonably should have known would be highly offensive to a large number of people …

    If responsibility lies “prinicpally, if not solely” with the Muslims, why mention Jones at all let alone apportion some blame on him?

    When it comes to criticizing the Muslims, there always has to be a “but” or “however” thrown in at the end.

  36. Gustopher says:

    Burning a Koran as part of a stunt trial is clearly constitutionally protected speech, but the value of that speech is, at best, minimal.

    I’d say the value of that speech is tremendously high. In a nutshell, whether Jones intended to say it or not, the real statement is this: We have the right to blaspheme.

    We’re a secular society, we don’t protect religions, and we don’t protect people from being offended. If we could export that one idea to the rest of the world, I think the world would be a better place.

    I wish we would encourage some of our allies in the Islamic world to respond by desecrating the Eucharist, rather than rioting and killing. That would be a huge step forward.

    This doesn’t mean that Terry Jones is not a contemptuous scumbag, he is.

  37. mattt says:

    Exactly right, Doug. I’d oppose any move to restrict the freedom of people like Jones to be idiots.

    I do wonder how a civil suit against him by families of those killed or injured as an indirect result of his conscious provocation might proceed.

  38. Jay Tea says:

    He is also the guy who shouted “fire” in a crowded theater. His purpose was to provoke, and it worked.

    He shouted “fire” at a crowded barbecue — a barbecue crowded with journalists with nothing better to do. His purpose was to demonstrate that there are a lot of very uncivilized people who think that “some dipshit in Florida burns a book that he bought legally means we are free to commit mass murder and mayhem in the name of their God,” and he proved his point.

    I blaspheme all the time. I’ve blasphemed against Jews, Christians, and Muslims. And only the last group is likely to kill me (or others pretty much chosen at random) because of my blasphemy.

    As an agnostic, I get a kick out of committing blasphemy. It’s part of my heritage, it’s part of my rights as an American to ignore religious laws and tenets of any and all faiths whenever I feel like it.

    I’d be willing to wager that no one here who’s talking about how awful Jones is for burning his own Koran said anything about all the routine insults and blasphemies Christians suffer all the time in the US. “The Last Temptation Of Christ,” “Angels In America,” “Piss Christ,” the Virgin Mary made of elephant dung, the San Francisco gay activists who dress up as priests and nuns, “The Da Vinci Code,” and on and on and on.

    I’ve sarcastically said on several times that Christians, if they want their beliefs and tenets respected, they need to stop turning the other cheek and learn from Islam. A few public beheadings and bombings and massacres, and maybe their beliefs will get the same kind of “respect” that Islam gets.

    We’re making things very clear: if you threaten violence, and occasionally carry it out, then we’ll suppress our own freedoms to avoid offending (read: provoking) those who’ve demonstrated that they are more than willing to enforce their religious laws against us heretics with violence.

    Nothing succeeds like success, after all.

    J.

  39. Jay Tea says:

    matt, I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that the law says you’re only responsible for reasonable consequences of your actions. “Religious whackjobs halfway around the world going on a psycho killing rampage” is NOT a reasonable response.

    J.

  40. anjin-san says:

    > We’re making things very clear: if you threaten violence, and occasionally carry it out, then we’ll suppress our own freedoms to avoid offending

    Not really. You are simply too stupid and too driven by your own ideology to understand what the people who are opposed to Jones actions are saying. Jones is free to do whatever the hell he pleases. Has anyone here proposed “suppressing our freedom”? Please direct me to the calls for restricting first amendment rights regarding speech directed at Muslims. Oh, wait. There are none, except in your imagination.

    But if he goes to great lengths to start trouble, seeking publicity all the while for his actions, after repeating warnings that his actions would indeed, start trouble, then I hold him responsible for his actions. Legal? Yes. Utterly reprehensible? Yes. The man is a moral zero.

    As for you, your support of anything that is anti-Muslim surprises no one. After all, you are a bitter, angry twit with a pathological fear of Muslims.

    > Religious whackjobs halfway around the world going on a psycho killing rampage” is NOT a reasonable response.

    No, but it is a predictable one. Jones got exactly what he wanted. And you seem to revel in it. Again, not a surprise.

  41. anjin-san says:

    > there are a lot of very uncivilized people

    Yes, those “uncivilized” Muslims. Not like civilized Americans.

    It’s funny. I live in this nice neighborhood, it’s tucked in between a country club and a park. Quite. Nice neighbors. Great views.

    And I can get in my car and drive for 15-30 minutes in any direction, and be in a neighborhood where my life would be in danger. And where no one is really surprised when a child is killed by gunfire.

    Yes, we are civilized. Far better than those barbarians who live elsewhere. Thank God we can point fingers elsewhere. It saves us from having to look in the mirror.

  42. Herb says:

    “See, the simple message is don’t be a jerk because Muslims will kill someone. ”

    Um, no. You see, murderers are jerks, even bigger jerks than book-burners. “Don’t be a jerk” applies to them too. Doubly so.

    What’s so hard about to understand about that?

  43. ponce says:

    America is at war.

    Can’t Terry Jones be arrested for treason seeing as his actions are so obviously undermining our war effort?

  44. PD Shaw says:

    anjin-san, so your opinion is that reasonable people, Muslim and non-Muslim, don’t react like the Afghan rioters. I agree.

    Where I think we disagree is the use of the words “partly responsible” in the relationship between Jones and unreasonable people.

  45. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, you talk like you think I’m worse than Jones and the psycho Islamists combined. Kind of flattering, but also kinda creepy.

    ponce seems to think that in wartime, basic, fundamental civil rights are suspended. Not surprising; Democratic icons FDR (Japanese American internment) and Woodrow Wilson (Sedition Act) did just that.

    anjin, you have a very enlightened attitude. Muslims simply can’t be trusted or expected to act like civilized people, able to take insults and criticisms without going all psycho. So since they can’t not be barbarian butchers, it’s incumbent on those of us who aren’t barbarian butchers to cater to their mental infirmities and respect their homicidal tendencies.

    Of course, by “enlightened” I mean “condescending” and “racist.”

    Glenn Reynolds might have had you in mind when he wrote this today:

    If Muslims aren’t capable of self-control or moral responsibility, then they must be ruled with a firm hand by those who are. Is that “liberal?” No, but interestingly the consequences of taking the ideas of liberals seriously seldom are. Alternatively, some people are just using this as an excuse to blame people they like less than savages and barbarians.

  46. anjin-san says:

    > Muslims simply can’t be trusted or expected to act like civilized people,

    Right. A billion+ people, all cut from exactly the same cloth. You don’t even rise to the level of idiot. I guess this sort of thinking allows you to feel a little better about yourself. That certainly can’t be an easy task.

  47. Jay Tea says:

    res ipsa loquitur, anjin.

    1) Jones announced he was going to burn a Koran.

    2) A lot of people predicted that Muslims would react violently, going on a killing rampage over the kind of “insult” that civilized people of civilized religions routinely shrug off.

    3) Idiotic leftists blame Jones for the deaths, talk about suspending Constitutional rights when religious fanatics go on murderous rampages. (See ponce, above.)

    4) Other leftists talk about how awful it is that Americans are exercising their Constitutional rights, “forcing” savages to act savagely. After all, they just can’t be expected to act like real human beings, right?

    J.

  48. ponce says:

    “Idiotic leftists blame Jones for the deaths, talk about suspending Constitutional rights when religious fanatics go on murderous rampages. ”

    Jay, I believe Obama would be acting constitutionally if he had Jones arrested on charges of treason.

    Look up Lord Haw Haw(William Joyce) for an example.

    There is little doubt Jones is providing propaganda that is helpful to the Taliban and al Qaeda.

  49. anjin-san says:

    Jay – Nice sheet you are wearing there. Real civilized.

  50. rodney dill says:

    Are you sure? In the case where there might be a million Muslim troops in our country

    Yes I am sure, and it is not the case where we are occupied by muslims. How could that happen? They are a religion of peace. If you want to speculate on this hypothetical scenario then also stipulate that the problem in Afganistan is largely due to this occupation and Terry Jones has negligible impact. If we were occupied I believe we would fight back, Christian or otherwise, but not because someone in Afghanistan descrated to ‘body of Christ.’ You really can’t be taken seriously if you interject ridiculous scenarios not in evidence and not being discussed. The question I responded to was the impact of burning the Koran versus the impact of desecrating something that some Christians might equally value.

  51. Herb says:

    If 1 and 2 are true, Jay, then 3 and 4 are somewhat unfair, don’t ya think? Or are the “lot of people” who predicted the violent reaction all leftists?

    I’ll defend Jones’s right to free speech, and relatedly, free religion, but I’m still going to disagree with what he did. A lot of people did predict the violent reaction. And he went through with it anyway. He could have written a book. That would have a perfectly fine use of his free speech. Burning books, though? Since when has that ever been a noble expression of free speech?

  52. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, any words for your ally here, ponce? He’s all yours, chum.

    ponce — for some reason, I find it hard to believe that you were so gung-ho about suppressing dissent back when the dissenters were Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan, and most of the far left, and the president in question was Bush.

    Oh, and this old sheet? Just something to toss on while I’m doing laundry. Nowhere near as fashionable as that spiffy brown shirt, with the oh-so-precise creases, that ponce is wearing and you’re coveting.

    You know what? I’m tired of the cutesy evasions and insinuations, anjin. You’re calling me a member of the Ku Klux Klan because I am insisting that human beings should be held to the same standard of civilization, while you’re the racist/bigot here — you want to excuse some brown people acting like brutal, murdering savages because halfway around the world, one white guy burned a book. Obviously it was the white guy’s fault — the brown people simply aren’t capable of being civilized, so it’s the white guy’s fault for doing something so hateful, so inciteful, so violent as to go out and buy a book and then burn it.

    I don’t buy into the concept of “fighting words,” and I don’t buy into the idea that a single American, doing absolutely nothing illegal (you might want to break that to your chump buddy, the Junior Shutzstaffel wannabe ponce), can in any way be held responsible for a mass murder carried out by a barbarian mob literally halfway around the world who think that’s the best way to some non-Muslim violating Muslim laws against blasphemy.

    Go look up the term “dhimmi,” anjin. You’ve got most of it down pat, but you could use a few more finishing touches if you expect to pull it off.

    J.

  53. tom p says:

    ….>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Wow. more idiocy I have read in very few places.

    For starters, Terry Jones went out of his way excercising his rights in an effort to piss off the entire muslim world….

    which no doubt will cost more than a few American soldiers their lives….

    but hey… what do I care?? not my son… not my daughter….

  54. anjin-san says:

    You’re calling me a member of the Ku Klux Klan because I am insisting that human beings should be held to the same standard of civilization

    No, I am calling you a racist piece of crap because you are condemning all Muslims for the actions of a subset. If the sheet fits, wear it.

    you want to excuse some brown people acting like brutal, murdering savages

    I have not written a single word “excusing” the actions of murderers in Afghanistan. More of your predictable, weak, BS.

    One more thing junior. Ponce speaks for Ponce. I speak for myself. Trying to conflate my comments with his is typical of the weak tea you are serving.

  55. steve says:

    “Idiotic leftists blame Jones for the deaths”

    I have not seen that. I have seen people say that the Muslims who did this are responsible. Then, people have said that Jones helped to incite the action. Jones made them angry, but they are responsible for their actions.

    “A lot of people predicted that Muslims would react violently”

    It looks like maybe 0.0001% did. In Afghanistan we have killed thousands of innocent Muslims. We tend to not worry about this since it was accidental. They think about it a lot. I suspect the population is just tired of being occupied. Then, from their POV, the country which is occupying them is now making fun of their faith. I doubt that many of them have experienced freedom of speech, so they assume, methinks, that this is government sanctioned. It is still murder and not justified, but you can see how you might end up there. Suppose your brother was collateral damage. Now you see the US making fun of you. Throw in a little fermented goats milk and you have an angry mob.

    Steve

  56. Jay Tea says:

    Herb, burning things as a form of expression is legally protected. Books, records, bras, flags. The only exception I can think of was draft cards, because I think those were still considered government property, not that of the individual doing the burning.

    I think of what Jones did as a sociological experiment: are Muslims around the world mature and civilized enough to just shrug off this really tiny, really stupid deliberate provocation, or will they react in a Pavlovian fashion and allow this one dipshit pastor to control their reflexes and show that they really aren’t ready to get along in the modern age?

    The answer, at least in this one part of the world, was “no, they’re not mature and civilized enough.”

    I think Jones is a jerk, but I will not in any way, shape, or form condemn what he did. Hell, I’ve engaged in some Koran desecration myself, purely for my own entertainment. Oh, and gustatory satisfaction.

    We NEED provocateurs. We NEED people who push buttons, who deliberately go out to violate the norms and the taboos and the oh-too-rigid dictates of society — ANY society. The Left used to lionize them, hold them up as heroes and icons — Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, and Jim Morrison, just to name three.

    Now they’re the ones who want to side with THE MAN, who want to keep the rebels down. Funny how that tends to happen when they become THE MAN.

    J.

  57. Jay Tea says:

    “Idiotic leftists blame Jones for the deaths”

    I have not seen that.

    steve, have you met ponce? Scroll up. He wants Jones thrown in jail for “pissing off Muslims.”

    J.

  58. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    @anjin-

    You are simply too stupid and too driven by your own ideology to understand what the people who are opposed to Jones actions are saying. Jones is free to do whatever the hell he pleases. Has anyone here proposed “suppressing our freedom”? Please direct me to the calls for restricting first amendment rights regarding speech directed at Muslims. Oh, wait. There are none, except in your imagination.

    How about Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham.

    So who is stupid now?

  59. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, let’s make it really, really simple for you.

    1) Does Jones have the legal right to do what he did?

    2) Does Jones have the moral right to do what he did?

    3) Will you defend his right to do what he did?

    For me, the answers are yes, yes, and yes. As an American in America, he is under absolutely no obligation to show the slightest respect or deference to Muslim strictures as to what constitutes blasphemy, and what Muslim strictures call for as punishment. And as a secular nation that is Constitutionally forbidden from enforcing any religious rules, we should absolutely reject any demands that we in any form impose those rules on an American who conducted his “blasphemy” within the United States.

    That’s my America, at least. Dunno about yours. I guess you have a fondness for theocracies.

    J.

  60. Jay Tea says:

    I am SO pissed at Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham right now. Why the hell couldn’t they have started talking about legally protecting Korans earlier? Why did I have to be so darned prescient in my comments, instead of just timely?

    CURSE my ability to foresee the future.

    J.

  61. anjin-san says:

    Patrick – my low opinion of Reid has been expressed here many times. Graham? Well he is a Republican. So we have bipartisan stupidity here.

    I guess you have a fondness for theocracies.

    Well, since I have confirmed my absolute support of the first amendment several times during this discussion, I will just write that off as the stock intellectual dishonesty you practice.

    That’s my America

    Is your America a place where we condemn a billion people for the actions of hundreds? Justice is a fundamental concept in the American canon.

    As an American in America, he is under absolutely no obligation to show the slightest respect or deference to Muslim strictures

    Legally? Of course not. Morally? Hell yes, he has an obligation to consider the consequences of his actions. If he feels compelled to burn a Koran, he should simply go out in the back yard and do it. That he sought publicity for the act supports that argument that he was trying to start trouble.

    Respect for the religious views of others? I think a blanket condemnation of an entire religion practiced by millions upon millions of people is reprehensible. Especially when it is easy to see the possibility of a tragic outcome

    But that is just my humanity. Dunno about yours. Well actually, I do know.

  62. G.A.Phillips says:

    Islam sucks!

  63. steve says:

    ” As an American in America, he is under absolutely no obligation to show the slightest respect or deference to Muslim strictures as to what constitutes blasphemy, and what Muslim strictures call for as punishment.”

    Absolutely, and I am under no obligation to like the guy or think that he is anything but a cretin, and I feel free to say so. He has used his right to free speech to insult others, which is his right. Of course these others just happen to live in a country that we are occupying.

    Steve

  64. Once again, we have some folks who really seem to have a problem with freedom.

  65. Scott says:

    Religion sucks!

  66. anjin-san says:

    Once again, we have some folks who really seem to have a problem with the responsibility that comes with freedom.

    FTFY

  67. G.A.Phillips says:

    Atheism sucks too!

  68. G.A.Phillips says:

    Once again, we have some folks who really seem to have a problem with the responsibility that comes with freedom.

    lol, tell us about it Anjin……

  69. anjin-san says:

    > lol, tell us about it Anjin……

    You don’t need me to tell you about it, just go take a look in the mirror.

  70. G.A.Phillips says:

    You don’t need me to tell you about it, just go take a look in the mirror.

    lol, ok……………….. I didn’t see anything special, A sinner, a fool, A troll crying out for attention lol…what now?

    You that stick up for every manner of crap that is liberal sit here a type about

    Once again, we have some folks who really seem to have a problem with the responsibility that comes with freedom.

    Ha!!!

    Dude I question everything about my self just about every minute, It sucks, and I suck, what does it really have to do with your same old lame arguments?

  71. anjin-san says:

    > what does it really have to do with your same old lame arguments?

    Well, perhaps you could explain why my arguments are lame – simply asserting that they are is a little too easy.

    > Dude I question everything about my self just about every minute, It sucks, and I suck

    I think you have it in you to change all that. You know GA, some of the guys in here, that I argue with, i genuinely dislike. I’ve never felt that way about you (though the “Islam sucks” comment is pushing it). I think deep down, you are OK. I hope you get the life you want and deserve.

  72. Jay Tea says:

    How enlightenting:

    Three remarks: “Religion sucks,” “atheism sucks,” and “Islam sucks.” The only one anjin chooses to criticize: the last one.

    Good dhimmi, anjin. You’re learning. We’ll behead you last.

    And how quickly you are to distance yourself from the 2nd/3rd most powerful elected Democrat (depends on how you rank Joe Biden), anjin. I can say with confidence that not only have I never voted from Grahamnesty, but neither has anyone I helped put in office. Can you say the same about Reid?

    My, my, my… here we have all these arguments about how no one’s talking about actually stopping Jones or anyone else from desecrating a Koran, and here’s the Senate Majority Leader actually TALKING ABOUT doing just that.

    Remember all the hysteria about the (some foolish) Republicans to make burning the flag illegal? This is even worse. At least the anti-flag-burners had the fig leaf of saying it was a patriotic gesture. Here, it’s nothing but cowardice.

    A LOT more Americans are offended by flag-burning than Koran-burning, but the anti-flag-burners are a LOT less likely to start homicidal riots. So I guess it’s not as important to “respect” them.

    J.

  73. john personna says:

    Jones doesn’t deserve to have fine men like James split hairs for him. He desired to stir the pot with what he knew would be a dramatic event. He eas warmed a year ago. We shouldn’t contort ourselves, comparing his intentionally inflamitory act with accidental ones etc.

  74. jwest says:

    Anjin-san,

    “‘Jones is a bigoted cretin
    He is also the guy who shouted “fire” in a crowded theater”

    What Jones did actually started as a whisper. He was a local bumpkin with a dozen followers that no one in their right mind would pay attention to.

    However, the MSM, with its penchant for highlighting anyone or anything that might suggest intolerance among religious (read right-wing) people, couldn’t wait to run this obscure story 24/7 until every goat herder in Afghanistan knew his name.

    As with most problems in this world, if not for the liberal media, the problems would not exist.

  75. anjin-san says:

    > As with most problems in this world, if not for the liberal media, the problems would not exist.

    How many different ways will the right try to pass the buck on this? Well, as we know, conservatives are all about personal responsibility. Except of course, when they are busy avoiding it.

  76. george says:

    As with most problems in this world, if not for the liberal media, the problems would not exist.

    They’re behind most of the world’s problems? Who knew they were so powerful?

  77. John425 says:

    What we really need is a human chain of say one million Americans pissing on the Koran. That’d dilute the moral indignation. I mean, you guys are alright with pissing on the Bible, aren’t you? Well, at least those of you in the fashionable art circles back east.

  78. anjin-san says:

    John… perhaps you can show where anybody said they “are ok” with missing on the Bible. or could it be if you are just short of making that up?

  79. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, just how many people died in the riots after “Piss Christ?” After “The Last Temptation of Christ?” Of the Virgin Mary portrait made of elephant dung? How many Catholics burned down cinemas showing “The Da Vinci Code?” How many theatres were torched to shut down performances of “Angels In America?” Was Kevin Smith assassinated over “Dogma?” Who got beheaded over “Saved!” Has ABC received death threats over their new series, “Good Christian Bitches?”

    Pissing off Christians is easy. They, generally, turn the other cheek. Pissing off Muslims gets people killed. Just ask Theo Van Gogh.

    Oh, that’s right. You can’t. Because he was murdered by a Muslim for his “blasphemy.

    Then just ask Salman Rushdie. If you can find him. He spent decades living under a death sentence from Iranian mullahs.

    Or a certain group of Danish cartoonists. They’re kind of hard to find, too. One devotee of the Religion Of Peace did find one of them, but was stopped before he could politely discuss the finer nuances of free speech vs. Islamic blasphemy — with an axe.

    Should I go on?

    J.

  80. Southern Hoosier says:

    There is no legal reason for condemning Rev Jones for what he did. However, he can be executed under Sharia law. Is that what this country is coming to? Are we going to start censoring our citizens at the whim of some foreign country?