Yahoo News has compiled a really long list of the people who have asked Florida Pastor Terry Jones not to burn the Koran. It includes the nation’s most distinguished General, David Petreus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the illustrious star of Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Angelina Jolie. I guess these people are right that it’s insensitive and rude to burn the holy book of another religion. The event has become high enough profile that it probably will lead to rioting and violence in the Middle East with negative consequences for American military operations in the region.
That said, it seems like the people to blame here are the perpetrators of rioting and violence, not the slightly bizarre residents of Florida who are exercising their first amendment right to burn a holy book. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with burning a holy book. After all, bible burnings happen all the time and are met with bewildered amusement rather than international condemnation. But when Christian holy books get burned, religious provocateurs don’t take it as an opportunity to start a riot. Perhaps the long list of people in the Yahoo News article ought to spend a bit more time condemning the rioters or the demagogues who provoke them instead of a few slightly deranged people in Florida.