from Sparty, concerning the "pastor" in Florida who threatened to burn Korans on 9/11:
(Feel free to comment, to agree or disagree, or add to the discussion.)
Now that I have a few minutes to think and send emails ... this "burning the Koran" thing really interests me because of what it says about where we are as a country, and where we may be heading ...
First, any damn fool can call themselves a reverend and conduct a church service in his garage - it's what the free exercise clause is all about. That also means any damn fool can call himself a Christian. If that means following the philosophy and practice of Jesus then many of those who call themselves Christians don't have a clue. But, then, there are a lot of people who think they are patriots who don't understand our values, either.
Second, we really haven't figured out how to deal with what's happened to the traditional role of the press as the gatekeeper of news. The multiplicity of media sources has led to "who's the nut of the week" style of "journalism" so that there are no editors who have the power (for good or ill) to determine what's legitimate news and what isn't. The flood gates are open. Objectively, this guy didn't deserve any attention outside his little community but the cable folks made him an international celebrity. Of course, the cable people say if they had ignored him and he'd carried through on his Koran burning ceremony somebody would have posted it on YouTube and it would have been seen by millions anyway. In my opinion that would have been far preferable to the way the media handled it. He would have been quickly lost in the postings of people falling off ladders or dogs singing in the shower.
Third, the fabric of this society has always been fragile and this incident shows one of its fault lines - ethnic and religious hatred of the other. There is in this country right now more hatred and anger than at any time in my lifetime. It's always been there, but usually it's confined to small groups of wackos. It's much more widespread now and it is being encouraged by a national cable network. Unfortunately, this is happening when whatever skills people need to sift through half truths and outright lies are no longer being enouraged. At a time when fewer and fewer people read anything they are easily influenced by talking heads with graphics and edited film.
I know the reason behind all this is democracy, but that doesn't make it healthy. This wouldn't be the first democratic society to implode because of its own internal contradictions.
I would like to add a thought to this, also. I don't believe that the media are the only blame-worthy interests engaged in blowing this incident up into an international flap. I think there are lots of Christian groups out there, and individuals as well, to whom this clash between Islam and Christianity is considered a good thing, that a showdown must come, and that perhaps the showdown is the violence that ends the world. That out of this, Christ will come again.On the other side are many Moslems who want to encourage the conflict.I have concluded that neither the Christian nor the Islamic religions (as a force on earth) is, or deserves to be called, "a religion of peace."