What am I missing here? We are the United States of America, The world's moral beacon. The globe's economic and innovation engine. The planet's military leader. And we should cower in fear of what someone MIGHT do if they do not like what we do? And one man in America with 50 followers can burn a few books and create global mayhem? Wow. Who knew?
The problem here is not Pastor Terry Jones or any other two-bit leader in Kansas, Wyoming, or Tennessee who desires to make a small statement in a small town with a small group of followers. The problem is overreaction. Overreaction by Muslim communities who have hair-trigger instincts when it comes to perceived affronts. And overreaction by a micromanaging president who never met a circumstance that he did not feel compelled to control and correct. Will he soon be personally patrolling every street and neighborhood to ensure that every action in America measures up to his satisfaction?
Pastor Terry Jones almost made me proud to be an American. His plans to burn Korans were wrong-headed and mean-spirited. Rather than helping the situation or loving his neighbor and enemy, he desired to choose a tasteless tactic. At the same time, however, his position provided the perfect case study for what freedom looks like. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. And freedom of expression.
Here was a man standing nearly alone in the face of blistering pressure from the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, General Petraeus, and even the Pope. And here was a man with the right to do so. The right to do the offensive. A true case study for the world to see what freedom really looks like. Freedom to do the stupid and not cower in the fear of being beheaded. Freedom not to be intimidated by power or by public opinion. Freedom of conviction, no matter how misguided.
Instead of acknowledging that freedom, the president chose to squash it. By bringing his considerable official power to bear, he thereby sent a message to the world that we value their opinion and threats more than we value our own citizens' freedom. That we will pay Mafia protection money to those who seek to bully us. We will spend our freedoms to satisfy your bully threats.
Afghans chant “Death to Christians” and “Death to America” while burning our flag all at their outrage over one man and 200 books. Meanwhile, we tremble in our boots. “What do you want us to do to make you stop? Sacrifice our freedoms. Sure, as long as it makes you happy.”
How did America come to acquire greatness only to lay it down in fear and cowardice? Maybe, just maybe, the issue is that Islam is intolerant at its core and there is nothing we can do to appease that other than acquiesce and convert en masse. I just hope my speaking this truth does not incite violence. If it does, according to our micromanaging president, the flaming results will be my fault.