Thursday, September 09, 2010

Shouting fire in a crowded theatre

I am all for freedom of speech. Including expressing your 'speech' in ways that might not involve actual flapping of gums.

Burning stuff, symbolic stuff, is a time honoured tradition of expressing your contempt for said institution represented by burning stuff. American flags for example often cop it on the burning front.

However freedom of speech comes with inherent self-applied limitations. For example the yelling of fire in a crowded theatre is not on because it causes panic and terror. Unless, of course, the place is on fire.

One pastor in the US has decided to yell fire in a crowded theatre ... with the theatre being world religion.

He's going to hold a mass book burning ... of the Koran ... on September 11.

When I was a kid I liked to stomp on networked ants nests. You'd find them in the scrub. Many square feet of hard soft mounds sprinkled with tiny rocks and hundreds of holes. I'd stomp-shuffle across then watch with delight as thousands of angry ants poured forth ready to take on whatever the threat to their world was.

Ha, ha ants. Me big. Me strong. Me man! You ant.

Pastor fuckwit wants to do the same thing. Only these aren't ants. They're people. And some of these people have a reverence for their holy book. Some of these people come from a culture where harming their holy book gives them the mega-shits. Oh, and where militancy is also a part of that culture.

The alleged defacing of a Koran - it was given a swirlie - at Gitmo was used as a dot point in 'check out the western outrages against us' list as disseminated amongst some of the faithful. That to do such a thing clearly meant 'the crusaders' wanted war on Islam.

Now imagine what a book burning is going to do.

I was raised in the Christian church. Admittedly it wasn't a hard core ritualised effort with strict adherence to cultural traditions. Indeed, I was lucky. I got all the moral messages out of it that also accorded with a secular humanist model of behaviour. One of which is not pissing people off for the sake of it. You know, turn the other cheek and all that.

I'm not sure what religion this Pastor is preaching, but I know this. If JC was real he'd be mighty pissed off by the burning of books in his name. Especially if that burning was going to be used in the minds of some to justify acts of future terror and pain.

UPDATE: It should be pointed out that even hard core fundamentalist Christians have been trying to get Pastor F to cancel his good ole fashioned yee-haw book burnin'. Even Glenn Beck of all people. Let's hope they succeed.

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