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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Qu'ran Burning and the Ground Zero Mosque - Two constitutionally guaranteed bad ideas

There are few things I find more idiotic than book burnings.

Aside from the vile association of that gesture with Nazi Germany, it's pointless. History has taught us that you can't destroy an idea by trying to suppress and erase it. To destroy an idea, you have to discredit it and provide better alternate ideas.

The Qu'ran has many passages which modern, western civilization would interpret as brutal, bigoted and barbaric. The exact same thing can be said of the Bible.

The problem that western civilization has with Islam is not the Qu'ran, but with Islam's interpretation of the Qu'ran.

Burning a Qu'ran isn't going to convince any Muslim that their Imams are interpreting that book in antiquated, idiotic ways. It will re-enforce Muslim ideas of victimhood.

The act of book burning says more about the bigotry and hate of the book-burner than it does about the contents of a book being burned.

But in America, the 1st Amendment gives people the right to express that hatred, no matter how bad an idea it is.

The Ground Zero Mosque is another terrible idea. To build a symbol of the religion in whose name 3000 innocent people were murdered withing sight of that crime shows an incredible insensitivity and narcissism.

But the 1st Amendment also guarantees the rights of Americans to the free exercise of their religion within the law and there is noting illegal about building a mosque.

What is interesting about the two bad ideas of Qu'ran burning and the Ground Zero mosque is that most people who are condemning one are defending the other.

And they are both correctly using the 1st Amendment as the defense.

These controversies show me two things: the hypocrisy of the politically polarized, and that the right to free speech enshrined in the 1st Amendment of the American Constitution, as problematic as it may be, was one of the best ideas in the history of mankind.

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