Back in September, a pastor from the Florida-based “Dove World Outreach Center” church announced the widely discussed “International Burn a Koran Day” to protest the religion of Islam. Despite controversy, death threats and a bill for services from the police, Pastor Terry Jones announced that it would still go on as planned. Then he changed his mind. Months later, Pastor Jones went forward with the plan during a worship service, and posted the video of the book burning on YouTube.
The rather anti-climactic video shows the book burning for several minutes (though, near the end the novelty had clearly worn off as most of the congregation were just walking around and chit-chatting.) Since then, there’s been a backlash against the United States in the Middle East, with some attributing the violence to Terry Jones’ YouTube publicity stunt. And, what better way to respond to savagery in the Middle East than with domestic censorship!
Enter Harry Reid.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says congressional lawmakers are discussing taking some action in response to the Koran burnings of a Tennessee pastor that led to killings at the U.N. facility in Afghanistan and sparked protests across the Middle East, Politico reports.
“Ten to 20 people have been killed,” Reid said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We’ll take a look at this of course. As to whether we need hearings or not, I don’t know.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham [R-SC] said Congress might need to explore the need to limit some forms of freedom of speech, in light of Tennessee pastor Terry Jones’ Quran burning, and how such actions result in enabling U.S. enemies.
“I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war,” Graham told CBS’ Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
“During World War II, we had limits on what you could do if it inspired the enemy,” Graham said, adding certain speech can “put our troops at risk.”
I don’t think what Terry Jones did was offensive. At the same time, I don’t think it was overly smart — or productive — either. If his goal was to get publicity for his church of some 50 members, then he was successful. If he wanted to make Muslims mad, he was successful. If I wanted to prove that their only response to being upset is killing people, he was also successful. However, in terms of accomplishing anything regarding the United States’ view on Islam and North America’s acceptance of the cult, he miserably failed. He didn’t stop the Ground Zero Mosque from being built, he hasn’t instantly made the Left condemn Sharia Law, and it doesn’t appear that he’s done anything but forced Americans to side with Muslims on this particular issue.
To say that people have died in the Middle East because of this is laughable. The fact is, those people are killing anyway; this just gives them an excuse to hate Americans even more.
That Lindsey Graham and Harry Reid may use this as justification for censorship is nothing more then that writer Pamela Geller would call a “self-imposed Sharia.” Because Muslims killed people [claiming it was] because of Terry Jones, these two Senators are now pushing the idea that Jones deliberately incited violence, making a free expression a hate crime. Remember, the Left doesn’t care about the First Amendment, only figuring out where they can draw the line and put up an arbitrary limit to freedom of speech.
I don’t agree with the burning of a Qur’an (not because of the implications, just because I really have trouble with this notion of destroying a book. Seriously, I couldn’t even highlight textbooks in university,) but that doesn’t affect my belief that someone should have the right to do so. Just as I don’t agree with the burning of a country’s flag, but I respect one’s right to do it.
The fact is, we can’t restrict freedoms based on the irrational responses by others. Just as you shouldn’t censor based on the possibility that someone will be offended. Freedom gives you the right to hurt people’s feelings; regardless of what common sense dictates.