Sunday, April 3, 2011

Terry Jones: Legally a Jerk

Do I really have to go into the background of this story? Probably not. This has been a fairly well publicized one. As many know by now, a Pastor of a tiny church in Florida by the name of Terry Jones burned a copy of the Qur'an. You may be familiar with this book? In the last few days, Afghanistan has been rocked by violent protests over this. On the day they began, 11 people were killed, 7 of them being UN workers, two of them being beheaded. As I write this, protests are in their third day, and seem to be spreading.

Now, I don't know Terry Jones personally. I've never met him. But based on what I have read about him, I can't say I am overly fond of the guy. I don't think he did a very nice to thing when he burned a Qur'an. However, I have to be quite frank in saying that killing people over this action is incredibly ridiculous. Some have come out saying that Terry Jones has blood on his hands and is responsible for what is going on in Afghanistan. He is not. He has been roundly criticized throughout the world for his actions, but what he did was not illegal where he is from. Terry Jones is guilty of being a jerk. That is it. How people have responded is up to them personally, and they are responsible for their actions. What is most ridiculous about this is that it was one man in a tiny church in Florida who burned the Qur'an. That's it. That's all. Nothing more. To say the least, I think it is fair to say that the violent backlash has been disproportionate at best, completely idiotic at worst. He has been roundly criticized. I agree with the criticism. That's about as far as things should go. But, NO, people's heads rolled (literally!). And, TODAY, Hamid Karzai, the fearless leader of Afghanistan is calling on the US Congress to do something about this guy. What?? What should they do about a man in Florida legally being a jerk? 

Look, there are no blasphemy laws in the US. Although I believe burning a Qur'an could be considered inciting hate, it was done on private property and therefore he was not doing anything against the law. Besides, there are plenty of hate groups in the US who are protected by freedom of speech laws. That is the way it works in the US. Freedom of speech is alive and pretty important. Does Mr. Karzai want the US to adopt blasphemy laws so that the people in his country don't go completely berzerk and start cutting off peoples heads?? That doesn't seem like a good idea at all. Should Terry Jones be punished? Well, he didn't actually break any laws, did he? No, he didn't. So, no, he shouldn't be punished, other than what is dished out in the court of public opinion. He has pissed off a lot of people. Fine. But, nothing he has done should be resulting in beheadings and riots. It can be met with anger and frustration, with speaking out against him, by making one's feelings known. But, when it get's to the point where people are dying, things have gotten way too out of hand, and it isn't the fault of Terry Jones.


No comments:

Post a Comment