As an atheist, I get pegged as someone who doesn’t respect religion, a heathen, a sinner, and a plethora of other unsavory things that religious people hurl at me while they ignore that good Christian moral of not judging people.
Before I begin this article, let me make it clear that I respect people of all religions and see us all as human beings who live on this planet constantly seeking meaning, truth and making up our lives with our decisions, beliefs and values. I don’t hold one belief system in higher order than another; I don’t discriminate.
However – I do believe that everything has a limit and religious beliefs should never be strained to excess. This holds doubly true for me if these beliefs are being pushed towards a polarizing, radical extreme. Why? Simple – we should all see each other as equals and strive to curb our arrogance. Idealistic at best, but I can dream, right?
So why is it that as an atheist, I’ve seen much more tolerance emanate from fellow atheists and heard most of the radical things against other religions coming from Christians, Muslims, etc.?
Why is it that Terry Jones, a pastor, wants to publicly burn a holy piece of literature?
Here’s a man who learned most of what he knows about Sharia Law from YouTube. Here’s a man who hasn’t been to any interfaith conventions because he thinks those meetings are “part of our problem.” Here’s a man who freely admitted that he personally knows no Muslims and hasn’t even interviewed one.
I’d really like to ruminate this man’s mind – I’m sure it’d be easy to get some sleep in such a dark, vacuous place. He’s obviously not a very bright man. Let’s say you do burn the Koran like the radical nimrod you are. Now let’s say one of your 50 congregants decides to videotape the entire thing so he can take it home and rock his children to sleep with it. Or, in a broader sense, one of the thousands of people who came to watch you make a fool of yourself videotapes it and sticks it online. One of those radical Muslims in Afghanistan that you hate so much sees it and gets angry. Now Pastor Dick, what do you think they’ll want to do?
You’d hope they have a lot more tolerance than you and be passive. You’d hope that they see this as just an isolated incidence of idiocy and hatred from this nation.
Or, you’d hope that they see this as what I see it as – a pathetic attempt from an irrelevant pastor to gain publicity.
Now, we have a thing called Godwin’s Law – the longer an argument drags on, the more likely a reference to Hitler or Nazis will be made. However, if the analogy is fitting, I don’t see a problem with it and thus this “law” becomes the garbage it truly is. That being said, how can Conservatives expect to NOT be compared to Nazis for things like this? You know, like when the Nazis burned over 25,000 books that were considered “un-German” in 1933. Un-German, of course. meaning books from mainly Jewish authors. These symbolic burnings took place to cleanse the landscape of Jewish ideology and force the Nazi regime down the throats of the obsequious and brainwashed constituency.
Therefore, this man isn’t helping to distance the parallel very much.
Everyone wants publicity these days. Hell, I want publicity. However, the motivation behind the desire for attention is all that matters. Perhaps Pastor Dick wants to burn these books to elicit an uproar, knowing well the old saying “any publicity is good publicity”? Maybe he’s just an old, lonely, desperate, delusional man? If he wanted publicity – he has it. He’s received over 100 death threats and as a result, arms himself with a pistol. People everywhere from the White House to the Vatican have denounced his plans. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and David Petraeus have denounced his plans. It’s no secret that someone running a church with only 50 congregants might want to get a little attention, but not to worry – he has it.
However – if he wanted company, he may be out of luck.
Moving on – I’ve read a lot about people calling this event “un-American.” I have to disagree – this is as American as it gets. What could be more American than exercising your First Amendment rights to the extreme? Too many people are quiet and unimaginative and willing to be fed lies and BS from the world around them in this nation. No sir, make no mistake, it’s not un-American – it’s downright stupid. It’s all a matter of degree, and this man is pushing boiling point.
As an atheist, I believe I have an objective view of this situation. I have no religious affiliation, which means I’m not rooting for one side or the other. All I see is another radical nutcase and another reason to stay far away from religion. The backlash that could ensue as a result of this could be enough to push many more away from religion. The impetuous side of me hopes that happens, however, the logical side of me just wants this idiot to shut up and lead his paltry congregation down a quieter road. That’s the other edge of the freedom of speech sword – one of which you can either wield and slash the tires of idiocy with, or one of which you can let slash your tires and be stuck in the middle of the road while the world drives by. If my lame analogy didn’t give it away – basically, I have as much of a right to call this man an idiot as he does to burn a holy book or books.
Pastor Dick made his choice – what’s yours? Let’s just hope he doesn’t have a spare tire.