A few months ago I wrote a blog about the Dove Outreach Church in Florida that wanted to burn the Quran and the potential effects that it could cause.  Well, today we saw those effects.  On September 9th I wrote,

“The bottom line is that, rightly or wrongly, the action will be viewed harshly in the Islamic world.  Millions of people now on the fence, who really have no idea what America is like and have more than likely never even met an American citizen, will now believe the al Qaida propaganda that we’re out to destroy Islam.  They don’t understand free speech.  They don’t understand 24-hour news.  They’d be lucky to find the United States on a map.  They have no idea that this church is a fringe group and not representative of America as a whole.  They do, however, understand that burning a book they consider the word of God is an affront.  And because of it, some young punk will now get his Jihad on, killing the soldiers of the “Great Satan”.

That’s what happened today.  The Dove Outreach “Church” burned the Quran last week… and Afghans went nuts.  Killing nine members of the United Nations Security Team.  On the surface, everyone in the US will say, “They’re insane…no way should the church be held accountable for Muslims in Afghanistan killing people.” Ordinarily I would agree, except for the blatant fact that I, and anyone else who has been to any Muslim nation, knew what the reaction would be. 

Twenty years ago, this wouldn’t have mattered, as the only people who would have seen the burning would have been the people associated with the church.  In today’s world, with the internet and all other social media, such actions by a few have repercussions way beyond the people who perpetuate it.  I guess having the Pope, the President of the United States, and the United States Secretary of Defense telling the church there would be harsh repercussions wasn’t good enough.  A lot of comments I have seen have defended this action as free speech, but as I said in the September blog, I don’t think this measures up as protected speech.  It’s fine to have an opinion, but when your opinion will cause the death of innocents abroad, then you should think long and hard about whether your expression is worth the results. Which is why screaming “fire” in a crowded theater isn’t protected speech.  People are saying “Don’t blame the pastor – blame the Muslims who did the murder.”  I agree with half of this.  The Muslims, of course, bear ultimate responsibility for the deaths, but this is like saying, “Don’t blame the guy who screamed ‘fire’, blame the idiots who stampeded because of it.”  If I had it my way, the church would be held criminally liable. 

While I knew what the reaction would be, and do hold the church accountable, the actions in Afghanistan also hit squarely on the Islamophobia blog I wrote in October.  Can the Council on American-Islamic Relations really wonder why the average American is skittish about Islam?  Come on.  Someone burns the Quran and riots erupt throughout the Afghanistan/Pakistan region?  A Danish newspaper publishes an unflattering picture of Mohammed and embassies all over the world are attacked?  Am I the only one who thinks the reaction is a little on the extreme side?  This is just one more clown suit in the closet.  Do I really want a neighbor who might lose his mind the next time he opens the Op/Ed page?  I’m being facetious, of course, but I can certainly see why Joe Six-pack is concerned.  If CAIR really wants to stamp out such thoughts, the road leads through their own religion, not through supposed narrow minded Americans.  They should work to foster understanding of the concepts of free speech in their own constituents instead of spending all of their time trying to justify what the average person sees on the news.  I support peaceful coexistence 100 percent, but the operative letters are CO-existence, as in two parties.  If I’m required to understand what you hold dear, you are just as required to understand the principles under which I live, principles that we as a collective western society hold dear.