Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How about not being a Dick? Have you tried that?

Oh, the things people will do to help their fellow man See the Light! That's right, it's International Burn a Koran Day! It even has a Facebook page, so you know it's official.

As far as I'm concerned, this is shameless pandering for attention that is targeting a minority group in an especially vicious way. It embarrassed me as a human to learn about it and I was downright flabbergasted to discover that Dove World Outreach Center, the group organizing the 'event', is right here in Gainesville. They're also busy organizing a protest against Gainesville's mayor, Craig Lowe, because he happens to be gay. It is unclear if they are protesting his homosexuality in particular or just the fact that one of the gays managed to sneak their way into office.

Pastor Jones also claims to have been 'inspired' by Everybody Draw Muhammad Day when creating his event, which irked me. I strongly supported EDMD, and the similarities are superficial at best. It's true, both events center around doing something that is offensive to Muslims, but that's about as far as it goes. EDMD happened in response to a real problem, and it was making an important point about free speech and the need to criticize even what some people view as sacred.

I strongly suspect that this whole bit of nonsense is just to drum up media attention (burning Koran's on September 11th? *facepalm*) for the pastor's new book. Putting cynicism aside though, what could his motivation possibly be here? One of my favorite blogs did an interview with Pastor Terry Jones, and I am of mixed feelings about his responses.

On one hand, it shows a surprising level of ignorance for someone who calls themselves a 'Doctor'. (I wonder what his PhD is in?) His understanding of Islam is certainly lacking, especially for someone who has written a book on the subject. Plus there is the seemingly obvious problem that burning another religion's holy book is not going to convince them that their religion is a lie. It will not inspire them to re-examine their relationship with God, it will just convince them that you are an asshole.

BUT, he seems to actually believe what he is saying, and he has the right to believe whatever he wants. Burning books may be barbaric and dripping with hateful overtones, but it is protected by the first amendment. People have the right to burn their own books.

His response to criticism from the Christian Community is pretty solid as well:

"This is the way that we have chosen to do it. To those Christians who disagree, we would encourage them to choose their own method of spreading the gospel and do so."

How can someone be so reasonable and still be so crazy? It's creepy. He makes a good point, though. I disagree, so I should let him do his thing find a way to spread my own 'gospel'. They'll be protesting the mayor August 2nd, from 12-2 at City Hall. I wonder if you have to agree with the people who filed the protest to show up? Do you think 'Judge me by my merits instead of who I find fuckable' will fit on a sign?

Anyway, I disagree with their message and their methods. It's a dick move, but if they really believe in it what can you do? They're not hurting anyone, after all.

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