Dr. Terry Jones is back with his lighter fluid and Korans. In what he called a worldwide campaign of Koran burning, Jones torched the Islamic holy book and a picture of Muhammad in the name of fighting religious intolerance. He and his supporters claim that they are only trying to help Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who was convicted of apostasy in Iran, a case that we have been following. Of course, the action will only harden the demand to put Youcef Nadarkhani to death by irate Muslims in Iran and other countries. But, few people believe that Youcef Nadarkhani is anything more than an excuse to engage in such hateful demonstrations.
My greatest concern is that this hateful lunacy of Jones and his followers is the renewed calls to criminalize anti-religious speech — a trend in the West. Most people find Jones’ actions to be disgraceful and contemptible. However, it remains a protected act under the first amendment like burning a flag. The great burden of civil libertarians is that our causes are often better than our clients. We must defend people like Jones not over the content of his speech but his right to speak. As people call for criminalization of Koran burning this week, we are again seeing religious sentiments trump free speech values.
Of course, the irony is that Jones and his followers have far more in common than they wish to admit with violent Muslims who kill and burn in the name of religious tolerance. They should not be the catalyst for rolling back on speech rights. The best protection for freedom of religion is the freedom of speech. The civil liberties community should not shy away from defending the speech rights in this controversy while condemning the message (and messenger).
Notably, Iran has demanded an apology from the United States for failing to stop the burning. The Administration has drawn a dangerously line with Muslim countries in first supporting the concept of an international blasphemy standard. As I have mentioned before, the efforts of the Obama Administration to work with countries like Egypt on an international blasphemy standard is a threat to free speech around the world. After first supporting an international blasphemy standard, the Administration sought to get Egypt and other countries to adopt the Brandenburg standard as the basis for such prosecutions. These cases show the mentality of countries pushing for a “balance” between free speech and religion. It also shows why the use of the Brandenburg standard is so dangerous in the hands of such officials who view free speech as the cause of imminent violence. Because any joke or image of the Prophet can trigger violence, the standard is immediately satisfied in countries like Egypt, which can then claim some legal legitimacy under the standard created with the United States. Free speech is under attack around the world and I view this effort as facilitating, rather than curtailing, such crackdowns on dissidents and intellectuals.
This act by Jones will likely trigger violence and confirm the use Brandenburg to criminalize speech in other countries. Indeed, it is likely to fuel the call for such prosecutions in this country.
35 thoughts on “Religion Versus Free Speech: Koran Burning Re-Ignites Demands For Prohibitions On Koran Burning”
The Muslims themselves must do whatever burning, and no one else. That is biblical. A book that insights humans to kill kids because of a hair cut or wants to stone a human that says what they worship is not holy not shining light like Gos who alone is holy has a book that is dangerous to others, and to the soul of the one that bows to it. The preachers hypnotize the listeners to know only one name focusing only on one name, and that does not save the soul. That creates humans that will riot at the slightest provocation thinking they are doing a good thing.
Except in the words most likely attributable to Jesus, he did not himself seek to be worshiped, only that others recognize the nature of His Father. The worship of Jesus was created almost 300 years after his death by the Constantine. Why? Human nature. It gave a human face to an invisible divine concept. As Disraeli noted, “Man is made to adore and to obey: but if you will not command him, if you give him nothing to worship, he will fashion his own divinities”. As to the threat of Hell, that has been and always shall be a tool made by men to control other men through fear and guilt. However, the bulk of your comment I agree with without reservation.
“I wonder what Jones conceives as the result of his actions ad how they are in line with his Christian beliefs. It seems to me that all he is trying to beget is violence, which from the Gospels doesn’t align with WWJD.”
Man, do I see this differently!
What would Jesus do? He advocated coming with a sword, and abandoning your family in order to praise him more completely. All upon penalty of never-ending agony in a lake of fire for disobedience. That’s not violent? It’s a million times worse than violence – a death by a scimitar hurts only for an instant. Not praising Jesus results in agony forever.
Jones is burning a book, which presumably he owns – it is his property to do with as he pleases. That Muslims may very well become apoplectic with self-righteous religious rage over this is THEIR over-the-top, completely unacceptable, anti-social, anti-Enlightenment values, and all too typical reaction, and more shame on them for it. And more shame on those who feel they have the slightest justification for it, or that their over-sensitive and ridiculously highly-developed sense of religious privilege deserves any accommodation whatsoever.
Fervent religionists need to understand that their religious taboos, responsibilities, and sensibilities are for their own in-group ONLY. And that when they start demanding that we respect their religious indignations they have just overstepped what is proper in a secular society.
Imagine if Hindus started threatening bodily harm to anyone entering a McDonalds because eating beef is a direct unforgivable insult to their religious identity, and you get a good idea about how despicable I find the typical reaction of most religionists to perceived insults to their own religious icons.
“What would Jesus do? He advocated coming with a sword, and abandoning your family in order to praise him more completely.”
It’s easy to pick and choose among scripture. Perhaps “turn the other cheek” and the “golden rule” might also take precedence in this situation. How you can read the Gospels and see Jesus as an advocate of violence perplexes me, unless you are more into “Revelations”, not Jesus words, because it plays to your own thirst for blood. How often humans cast God in their own image to suit their own petty needs is an example of why you can lead a horse to water, but not make it drink.
Amen, Mike S.! And Rafflaw!
I wish you wouldn’t bring facts into this discussion! It only confuses those who live in a non-fact based reality. 🙂
“Hey, reality check time! If it were a Muslim Cleric burning the New Testament, the Old Testament, or the Sacred Hindu Texts, there wouldn’t be any news stories or blogs about that, would there be?”
You don’t know what you’re talking about. Go to the search box on the right above, just below Professor Turley’s picture. Type in “Muslim Violence” and you will see more than 30 articles and hundreds of comments the majority of which condemn such violence by Muslim’s. Stop playing “the liberals are anti-Christian” card, it’s meaningless drivel and not worthy of discussion.
True, Mike. It’s not against the law to totally miss the point of Jesus’ teachings. Then again, fundamentalists of all stripes need to lighten up.
I wonder what Jones conceives as the result of his actions ad how they are in line with his Christian beliefs. It seems to me that all he is trying to beget is violence, which from the Gospels doesn’t align with WWJD. On the other hand Koran burning is protected free speech and should not be prohibited any more than flag burning.
Old Geezer decided to raise the First Amendment defense. He was burning the Gideon Bibles because they mis state the Sixth Commandment. They say: You should not murder. Not: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Old Geezer is against the death penalty and believes that when the People of The Great State of Texas execute someone then the whole raft of people from Texas have violated the Sixth Commandment–that there aint no Y’all Can exception. He says he asked for a permit and was denied. Old Geezer says he is taking this all the way to the Supreme Court and if that doesnt work to the Supreme Being. I told him that as head of the dog pack I had already approved it. He said: Never mind. Like I was some schmuck on Saturday Night Live and needed a Rosann chidding. So, thats whats going on.
“Alawadi was killed as a result of a Muslim honor killing”?
You’re right, I can’t find that in the news, at all. Anywhere.
Far as I know, the investigation continues.
Do you have a source for that factoid, or is this speculation, masquerading as fact?
So, when do we start the reality check? You haven’t provided one, yet.
Hey, reality check time! If it were a Muslim Cleric burning the New Testament, the Old Testament, or the Sacred Hindu Texts, there wouldn’t be any news stories or blogs about that, would there be? Of course, not, And Muslims can kill people every day, and they do–and that barely makes the news anymore. Like when that woman Alawadi was bashed in the head with a tire iron, the media pounced on that as a hate crime committed by some Islamophobic—as they’re so fond of labeling anyone who dares to criticize and attack Islam for the heinous acts commited by its “faithful.” Of course, when it turned out that Alawadi was killed as a result of a Muslim honor killing, Alawadi vanished from the news, as the media and the growing Leftists population quickly forgot about poor brain-bashed Ms. Alawadi. Who cares about her; no Islamo-political angle there, right?
If he didn’t have a permit and a permit was required under the law or local ordinance, then he has no case. Why make things so simple so complicated?
One of the dogs in my dog pack named Dogsent says that his pal (no dog would call a pal and owner) inherited a two hundred room motel full of fleas and in addition to that 200 plus Gideon Bibles. They were about to wreck the place and had all the beds, furniture, et al out on the parking lot being sold. No one bought the Bibles. No one would even take the Bibles. So they had a bonfire going out back to get rid of trash, debris, waterboards, and whatnot and old Geezer (our dog’s pal) starts throwing the Gideon Bibles on the fire. Just then the Fire Chief comes by and has a big hissy fit. They called the cops and arrested Geezer. Not for defacing Bibles but for having a fire without a permit. My question to you lawyers out there on the blog is should Geezer invoke the First Amendment protections as a defense in Magistrate Court tomorrow when he faces the Magistrate. The Magistrate by the way is also called a Parson–whatever that is. Geezer listens to Dogsent, so the advice would be helpful and do more than just fill the doghour of nightly dog comment at the pack. Or should he raise in addition the Ninth Amendment right of privacy as well? The dog pack is getting ready to go poop at the Fire Chief’s front yard but that is neither here nor there.
If we all stop paying attention then he will just go away.
Anonymously Yours 1, May 1, 2012 at 7:52 am
Trial by ordeal…..
But if you burn the Koran on a nook have you offended anyone?
In my trials by ordeal, I burn one of each, so no-one feels slighted.
But the noise of all the gods responding to stamp out the fire has caused the police to come over and tell me to keep the noise down.
Stupid but understandable in the face of newspapers the world over who cowardly refused to publish the Jyllands-Posten caricatures of the “Prophet” that led radical Muslims to riot.
Pastor Jones should be renamed Fire Chief Jones. Is there any reason to listen to what this so-called man of God is spewing? Of course, he should have the right to spew whatever filth he desires, but it is not religion he is pushing.
Trial by ordeal…..
But if you burn the Koran on a nook have you offended anyone?
All good historians know that there are ways to find out if a holy book is really holy or not.
This was proven at Salem, when the witches were waterboarded.
If they were not witches, being held under water for three days and three nights would invoke God to save them.
If God did not intervene, of course they were witches.
Same with holy books. If they burn God has not saved them.
Be careful zealots, the devil may deceive the Navy into the false belief in the global warming hoax, so Onward Christian Soldiers!!!
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