Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another perspective

A number of blogs and editorials have commented the last few days about the thwarted burning of a Quran in Texas. This entry from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA is typical. I made the following comment to a similar post on Will Shetterly's blog: I've been thinking about this for a while. I was applauding like everyone else yesterday when I saw the video, but this morning I woke up with a nagging thought. Another way of describing this incident is that we showed up in large numbers and physically intervened to prevent a man's constitutional freedom of expression, intimidating him into leaving the park. Mild, as shows of force go, but is this really a slope we want be slipping on?

The reason I decided to post about it myself is the last line from the UUCVA post: "Thought I would share the story that all the YA's in my community are excited about right now." In other words, they are excited about the use of force and intimidation to counter protests. Yes, as I said above, it's a mild show of force- but in that very counter-protest some were carrying signs saying "Where they have burned books they will end in burning human beings". Shouldn't we be warning those YA's that a slope is slippery from both sides?


Bill Baar said...

I'd be inclined to arrest whomever burns one for obstructing the war effort. I had a back and forth with Chalice Chick on that one. (I have not idea what law that could be but that's what AG Holder is for...).

Otherwise I think much of this debate is a crock. One has to be hunkered down with a Muslim ally in a duck-and-dive as some Iranian financed knucklehead lops a rocket into the green zone to realize the US is allied with Muslims in a war against Islamists set on blowing up Mosques not quite to their liking of Islam.

It's a shameful lack of faith in the United States to rant about Islamaphobia as we send men and women to fight for exactly the opposite sort of world.

Will Shetterly said...

I left a comment, but it seems to have been lost. Basically, I wouldn't want a law protecting sacred texts, but I wouldn't burn them either. And if someone grabs something you're trying to destroy, what's the harm? You were clearly done with it.

Bill Baar said...

I thought this an interesting take if you have facebook!/note.php?note_id=443795977611&id=79757303129

Zahra Rahnavard, wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi and university professor, by issuing a statement while condemning the insults against the Holy Quran emphasized that these behaviors are insults against the path toward salvation and happiness of the human; and fundamentalism wherever it is, creates violence. Rahnavard at the end of his statement addressed to the officials who have shown strong outrage regarding the insults against the Holy Quran asked them to prove their true faith in the Quranic values, which one of the most important one of them is to honor “pledge”, return to the pledge they had made to the nation in executing the constitution and release all political prisoners and fulfill other rights of the nation

What must she think of UU's whose Chief went and made nice with Akmenijad? I imagine our Solidarity over the Kuran burning worth about as much as a bucket of warm spit to Greens in Iran.

We're a badly isolated and insulated faith not to be more aware.

Strange Attractor said...

Thanks for this post, Joel; it has me thinking. Something has been bothering me about much of the Quran burning coverage and I haven't been able to pin it down.

Of one thing I am certain: while I am totally opposed to burning anyone's sacred text, I am also not in favor of fetishizing the Quran in reaction to some bonehead and his threats.

Desmond Ravenstone said...

Thank you, Joel, for a timely reminder of what our core values are and ought to be.

Sounds similar to efforts to prevent flag-burning. I remember reading a story about an African American man who, during a time of high racial tensions, proposed publicly burning a flag as a demonstration that the injustices perpetrated on people of color made all of the values symbolized by the flag "go up in smoke."

Rather than prevent others from doing what we find distasteful -- and thus cause our commitment to freedom to "go up in smoke" -- I hope UUs and our allies will turn to persuasion and example, not only respecting the other side's right to express themselves, but exercising our own in a more responsible way.

Chalicechick said...

Yeah, I'm certainly not cheering either side on this one.