“We’re not big debaters. We’re not very well-educated,” Luke Jones said. “We’re just simple people trying to do the right thing.”

I’m one of those people who are very wary of people who push their religion on others, whether it’s Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, or any of the other thousands of brands that people have bought into. I want people to be part of something possibly because of birth but moreso because of education. And so this caught me dumbfounded. I don’t know how to address people like this at all.

Jones, 59, had considered the possibility that burning the text might elicit a violent response and that innocent people might be killed. In his characteristic drawl — a slow-motion delivery that seems incongruous with the church’s fiery rhetoric — the pastor said the church also debated whether to shred the book, shoot it or dunk it in water instead of burning it.

He has been accused by those who intervened in September of breaking his promise not to burn the Koran — a point he concedes. “If you want to be technical,” he said, “I guess we broke our word.”

He added, “We thought twice about it.”

But in the end, his desire to shed light on what he calls a “dangerous book” won out. The Koran was burned in a spectacle streamed live on the Internet. To reach out to Muslims overseas, Jones included Arabic subtitles.

“For some of them,” he said, “it could be an awakening.”

Oy.

So I was happy to see someone take him on. Well, not him or them exactly, but the problem. Here’s one of the comments to the article that caught my eye. And my attention.

Runofthemill

From the article: “We’re not big debaters. We’re not very well-educated,” Luke Jones said. “We’re just simple people trying to do the right thing.” ————– Education and a nuanced understanding of what the overseas reaction might have led to a different decision. In the U.S., because we are isolated geographically and the dominant power economically and militarily, many citizens unfortunately do not have as complete an understanding of the big wide world as perhaps we … should. (no I am not blaming the education system)

With that out of the way, what a great discussion below. Many good posts defending the right of people in this country to exercise what is a basic tenet of a free and open society. Sure it was a childish act without a real understanding of how the actions of 30 people can impact American (and Western) strategic interests overseas. This act may have set those interests back a few paces, but then again refer to the education quote above, they did not think about that deeply enough (it also cost innocent lives but the responsibility for taking those lives rests with the perpetrators of the violence overseas). The point however is that they have the right to do it and that right should be defended. We can (and should) admit that it was insensitive when asked about it but if we really believe in what it means to be American and live in a free society we should defend the right with our very next breath.

We have to take responsibility for our actions. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a lot more than commenting on an article or even writing a blog. And when people like that are seemingly on principle unwilling to enter into dialogue or open to anyone else’s viewpoint, then we’re really lost. I’m not sure we’re going to be able to wake up from this nightmare.

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