Thirty-five years ago my brother burned my Elvis records. At the time I was in India. He thought he was doing God's will. Included among them was Elvis' Greatest Hits Volume 1 which I had bought when I was ten years old. It contained Heartbreak Hotel, All Shook Up, Hound Dog, and Jailhouse Rock. I still remember most of the lyrics.
How did I respond to my brother's zeal for God? Other than, "Damn it Sam, wasn't that going a little overboard?" - nothing. I didn't hold it against him, try to burn his house, or threaten his family. I'd almost forgotten about it until this week when the furor surrounding a church in Florida threatening to burn the Quran brought it back to mind.
The media is all over this story. Google it, and you will find the pastor called every name in the book. Well, not really; read 20 stories and you'll see the same adjectives repeated 20 times. If the church goes through with its threat, I imagine every news channel in the world would love to be there with its cameras when the first ayah hits the flames. A rabbi here warned us of the seriousness of this action (tears), reminding us that people who begin by burning books end by burning people (heavy sobs). General Petraeus stated that American soldiers in Afghanistan will be endangered if the event is not called off.
I just have three questions, one for the media, one for the rabbi, and one for the general.
My question for CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and all the others is, Why are you focusing all your attention on the stupidity of the pastor, and none on the stupidity of the people who will kill, burn, and maim when their book is burned? No one will be hurt if the Quran is burned. Wounded feelings, Yes; wounded bodies, No. Bruised emotions, Yes; bruised heads, No. Injured emotions, Yes; injured people, No. Hurt sentiments, Yes; patients in hospitals and bodies in morgues, No.
And I have a question for the rabbi. You went on and on about the "sacred book". Have you read (I mean carefully read) what it says about your people? Do you know what Muhammad did to your people in Medina and Khaybar? Can you connect that, not just settlements in the West Bank and checkpoints at Gaza, with the hatred many Muslims feel towards your people?
My last question is for the general. Are you really telling us that we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars, and our soldiers are sacrificing their lives and limbs by the thousands, to help a people who will kill us if we burn a book 99.9 percent of them cannot read? (The only "Quran" is the Arabic Quran; any other translation is considered merely an interpretation and the vast majority of Afghans cannot even read that).
I guess I do have another question, one directed towards myself. Are we all going just a little bit crazy with our inability to think creatively, out of the box, beyond the pale of political and social correctness, or is it just me? Perhaps I was affected by the burning wax of those Elvis albums more than I realized.