Not since the Westboro Baptist Church has a previously-inconsequential church from East Jabip taken the nation by storm, doing everything that anyone calling themselves a church of God shouldn't: indiscriminately spewing hatred, filth, and lies about and upon others. Yet this time, they've upped the anti. No longer are these "Christians" (and I use that term extremely loosely) simply tormenting the relatives of our heroic departed soldiers. No, no, that's child's play for this flock of 50 followers. Rev. Jones has taken it upon himself to insult an entire religion full of people, including a select few groups of which are already proven fans of killing Americans. L. Ron Hubbard couldn't make these scenarios up, I swear.
All apologies to my Muslim friends for specifically focusing on the extremist groups amongst the religion (and I suppose to my Christian friends that they should be even remotely affiliated with organizations such as the Dove World Outreach Center), but focus is needed here. Credit to the scores of world leaders and other notables who have outright condemned this Qur'an burning nonsense. But the most telling rebuke comes from General David Petraeus in Afghanistan, paraphrased but essentially in so many words:
Doing this is creating a direct elevated threat to American lives.
Petraeus refers not only to the troops overseas but also all of us on the homefront as well. There is no telling what images from such an inflammatory act will cause in response. Now of course, comes the decision point. America's valued freedoms dictate that in theory, Rev. Jones is still within his rights to hold this preposterous event. Sanity and logic dictate otherwise, naturally. Who in their right mind would willingly put others to the sword (or best case the greatly heightened risk of the sword) for the sake of ideology? We all know the answer to that: Terrorists/Extremists.
There of course are two ways to respond to this. The first is for the government to act against this terrorist threat (which you might say Rev. Jones is not, but clearly by logical argument we've just demonstrated otherwise) under any and all applicable acts currently active under United States law, the USA PATRIOT Act for example. Consider the following piece from Title VIII of the act, which encompasses:
Activities that are..."dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;" and/or are intended to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population;"
Further insight into Title VIII shows that this would be very difficult to achieve legally, simply due to the act's definition of "supporting terrorism" focusing on the harboring those involved or actual monetary support fronts rather than just incitement. But consider the earlier point:
Who in their right mind would willingly put others to the sword (or best case the greatly heightened risk of the sword) for the sake of ideology? We all know the answer to that: Terrorists/Extremists.
Surely this psychological warfare will cause United States losses, if not in casualty counts than in monetary loss from reacting to increased threat levels due to the riled extremist support in the Middle East. There have been hoards of complaints about losses of individual freedoms under the PATRIOT Act and other government actions since 9/11, but it seems to me that in this case the "freedoms" of Rev. Jones and participants have been flaunted long past the point of legal expression and speech, and revocation is justly deserved. There is a significant difference here between say, flag burning, and this act. Flag burning, while by no means commendable, simply expresses displeasure with in-house leadership. Terry Jones's actions express nothing more than indiscriminate hate and intolerance -- a neo-crusade that pits extreme ideologies against one another with the tolerant, centrist masses caught in the middle (and via violence in the wake).
A second option (and one even less likely than the first to be enacted), is to essentially suspend freedom of press for the event. Obama, Clinton, and every other world leader to exist can come out and condemn the actions, but at the end of the day it's free press for Rev. Jones. To quote a friend who commented on the issue, the Qur'an burning has got "media circus written all over it." Entirely true, of course, unless the government were to step in and demand networks give the scam the amount of coverage it deserves -- zero.
Now, the ACLU and liberal fanatics out there would likely lambaste my viewpoints, claiming that they simply "open the door for further restriction of individual freedoms." But I ask each and every one of you to once more consider the logical side of things before jumping on the freedom at all costs bandwagon. Have you been affected by the PATRIOT Act outside of increased scrutiny at airports? Have you been noticeably denied any freedoms you enjoyed prior to 9/11?
For 99.9% of us, the answer is surely "no," which is exactly how it should be, and would continue to be following any action upon Rev. Jones. Why? Because as I've stated before, this Qur'an burning classifies as terrorist activity. We the people -- the tolerant, progressive, accepting people amongst the citizens of the United States -- do not engage in such cowardly and hateful actions, therefore we are but minorly inconvenienced by stricter laws and securities in the post-9/11 world. My challenge to society therefore, is to let my post here be the last story about Rev. Jones for the rest of time.
As we head into the 9th anniversary of September 11th, we should all reflect upon the sacrifices of the victims, including those within the events, the soldiers who fought in the aftermath, and the families and friends of the above. We should celebrate our freedoms as a vital part of American life and take the utmost advantage of them. But we should also be mindful to think logically and see events as they really are.
Who in their right mind would willingly put others to the sword for the sake of ideology? There can be, and will always be only one answer.