(Editor's Note: There's more than a little irony that one of the best quotes about intolerance, above, is from a movie with the words "Last Crusade" in its title. Funny how that word has morphed in the past twenty years...)
There is an insignificant gnat of a church in Florida trying to improve its balance sheet by burning the Koran this Saturday on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. A total of fifty congregants, and undoubtedly fanatical followers at that.
I will not dignify the church by posting its name or the name of its attention-seeking, money-grubbing pastor. Instead, I want to focus on two things:
1) The repercussions of its actions and
2) The ridiculous publicity the mainstream media gives asshats like this pastor and the moronic coward running the intolerance rally in lower Manhattan this Saturday. As I've written elsewhere, this rally distresses me more than the cultural center ever could, because I'd like to think that Americans aren't chickens.
The validation given to fringe and radical groups like these two crazies serves a dual purpose: it allows the rest of us to take comfort in our intolerance, because if slime creatures like these can get airtime, then how extreme could our viewpoints be? Mind you, I felt the same way about the Code Pink and 9/11 Truthers, so this is not a matter of disagreeing with the ideologies involved. It's a matter of recognizing the handicapping effect these idiots have on society as a whole.
Whether it's a purported "Christian" church or a gang of rabbling lefties, the more coverage these groups are given, the more and more our society gets painted as being deeply divided.
We are divided, no doubt, but you could portray that sentiment simply by airing any rational debate amongst opposing factions. Indeed, it would give a truer picture of just how divided, as we'd be shocked to find that we on the left have some common ground with "them" on the right.
We love this country, we'd find. People like this congregation or that concrete harpy do not. It comes down to that, because they would sacrifice the good of the nation to the fast buck they can make raising Cain over nothing.
These actions endanger innocent people, whether they be American Muslims trying to drive a cab, American soldiers standing watch in Afghanistan, American embassy personnel in Pakistan, or the average American who went to work on 9/11/01.
That's right: I am drawing a direct line between the hate-mongerers and the deaths in the Trade Center, for if before the attacks, radical Muslims hated us for our freedom, they sure as damned hell aren't going to love us because we turn our backs on those freedoms as they pertain to Muslims. There will be more attacks and more emphasis on attacking Americans in their own homes, workplaces, and houses of worship.
if a flame so much as licks a Koran on Saturday, there will be repercussions, and I expect they'll be instantaneous. And isn't it wonderful that someone else will suffer for your actions? I mean, that's why we hire an army in the first place, right? So we can act like assholes? Let them sort out the problems for us!
Take no responsibility for yourselves, your actions, or the damage you've done. But that's the right wing way: never complain, never explain. And that the mainstream media is enabling this speaks very badly of our "free" society. But hey, it sells newspapers, right?
So what happens when you're publishing a newspaper and no one is around to read it?