Islam, Christianity, and Burned Books

As I read the overly dramatic tales of a lone pastor in Florida lead his church to burn a stack of Qur’an’s, I thought, who cares? People do crazy stuff without it captivating a nation. Not surprisingly, the news that provides advertising revenue is what we see and read. [Source]

The importance of one church in one state burning a stack of Qur’an’s is trivial, unless, it relates to a bigger trend. Perhaps that is the underlying assumption of this entire story: Americans have repressed hatred toward Islam, and this is the first of many outbreaks of anti-Islamic sentiment. I doubt it.

To the church in Florida, Dove World Outreach Center: do you think burning a stack of books is helpful? I can assure that printing presses will churn out more books than you can possibly burn. From a functional perspective, you will not win the war. Politically, you sparked a firestorm and brought media attention to your church, but what did you do with it? For an organization that focuses on outreach, how can this be helpful? (Editor’s note: how ironic that the church is named after a symbol of peace, the dove.)

I doubt that burning Qur’an’s will bring people closer to Jesus.

To the media: Why was this such a big story? And where were the editorials decrying the striking lack of fairness? In America, a group threatens to burn the Qur’an. In response, Afghans protested and burned U.S. flags. [Source 1, Source 2] They rioted. They burned U.S. flags. The irony here is that their actions were much more severe, but the U.S. ignored it. Applying their standards in return, the U.S. military would have weeded out the protesters for burning the flag. But we didn’t.

What alarms me the most is that I never read this point. America is great because you can burn books. You can protest and vote. You can say outlandish things. Our freedom of speech is great and something absent in the Islamic world. Say what you will, but our political system is better, even if crazy people get more media coverage than they deserve.