For all the condemnations raining down on him, Pastor Terry Jones' plan is on par with, and has precedents in, stupid projects like Piss Christ, Made in God's Image or Jesus on a Leash (From the TV program 'God bestaat niet' (God does not exist), RVU, 2005, The Netherlands). These three examples are no less obnoxious and hurtful (not to mention plain obnoxious) as is the deliberate burning of a Koran. But back then we were told this was 'modern' and 'edgy', that it was a way of shaking off old, worn-out beliefs in a process towards a New Humanity (tm).
This time around the reaction from public figures is completely different. The Western MSM and leadership are falling over themselves to condemn the planned Koran burning. Angelina Jolie said "I have hardly the words that somebody would do that to somebody's religious book". A very high-minded sentiment, tolerant of and sensitive to people that have a belief system different from hers. But where was she when 'artists' invited the public to desecrate a Holy Bible with their scribblings? Where was Hillary Clinton when Serrano lowered a crucifix in a jar full of urine? Uncalled for and provocative as the plans of the Gainesville pastor are, it is no more provocative then hanging an 'anatomically correct' statue of Jesus made out of chocolate from a crucifix in a church (p).
It is the asymmetry in the reactions (1) that point to what is the real issue: fear. Christian don't react with riots, murder and mayhem at the slightest provocation. Muslims do. This issue has nothing to do with minster Terry Jones being uncouth or uncivilized (which he is). It has everything to do with our fear for the muslim reactions to this little episode. The issue is the uncivilized and uncouth reaction of muslims to whatever it is they perceive to be a slight. And how our 'leaders' subsequently respond.
You know that sweet lady down the street, a little twee, but the neighbourhood is cutting her some slack because of the rumours about her husband and what he's like after a few drinks? That's us! Muslims foist abuse after abuse upon us, from the atrocity of 9/11 to the monument of muslim victory that is to be erected on Ground Zero. And we react by doing nothing about the abuse. Instead we do everything in our power to avoid and prevent anyone who might set off yet more abuse.
That is the quality of the leadership in the West these days. Churchill was a man, he stood and fought. Obama (and all others, including our own Dutch leadership) is that twee, little lady down the street, wearing shades to hide a black eye. And it deeply saddens and sickens me, that we have been reduced to this.
But here's where Jones' plans become a useful exercise: It exposes the cringing battered-wife attitude that we in the West display when confronted with yet another tantrum from the Religion of Perpetual Outrage. So, reluctantly I have to admit that, while I still belief ceremoniously burning a Koran is hurtful, unnecessary, unfeeling and uncivilized, it isn't without purpose, it isn't useless.
This is a classic case of what has become one of lifes motto's for yours truly: Always forbidden, but sometimes mandatory. There are times when what would be absolutely beyond the pale becomes a necessary action to prevent greater evil. No moral principle devised by humans is (or can be) absolute.
Having said that, though, I have to agree with Michelle: Don't burn the Koran! Read it! If you want to understand why I and so many others have reservations about the growing influence of islam in the West: Go to the source texts. Read for yourself what Allah supposedly told Muhammed, and decide for yourself whether the principles laid out in the low point of human literature that is the Koran make for a viable, and liveable, society.
(1) And speaking of asymmetry: Ferdy provided me with a a nice list of links to items about Bible burnings that got absolutely no traction in the MSM. At least, I don't remember Angelina Jolie getting worked up about these:
Muslims Burn Bibles Routinely and Often
Saudis Do Destroy Bibles, Think Tank Affirms
Burning Alive : The fate of Pakistani Christians
Iran - The Burning of Hundreds of Bibles by the Government Security Forces
North Carolina church plans Halloween Bible burning
US army: burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan
Bible shredding in Saudi Arabia
Pakistan: Islamic threats in church: bible burned, appeal to conversion
Wahabi Imam to burn the Bible in Cairo!
Koran burnings by Saudi goverment
Somalia: Burning bible and christians
[UPDATE001] All of the above is now moot. Pastor Jones will not burn a Koran: 'Not today, not ever'. Which isn't to say that no Korans were burnt. They were (video here, thanks to Ferdy). Just not by pastor Jones.