The Koran, General Petraeus, Dhimmitude, and American Values


Terry Jones of the Dove Outreach Center plans to burn Korans on 9-11-10 (CBS photo)

Terry Jones, pastor of a small church in Florida, is planning a “Koran burning” this Saturday to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on America.

While it is certainly the First Amendment right of Pastor Jones to do so, I believe that it is entirely inappropriate to do so.   No doubt about that.   And  Christians/Americans in this country have repeated this sentiment in LARGE numbers.

However, the response to this pastor’s efforts really bothers me on many fronts.

  • Why has this become such a worldwide news item? 
  • Why do those in the highest levels of our government feel the need to speak out? 
  • Why are many of those same people hypocritical on this issue vs. the Ground Zero Mosque (GZM)? 
  • Why do we cater to a religion that threatens death to our troops and Americans if a Koran burns, but Americans opposed to the GZM have simply protested and been labeled “bigots’ (by our leaders and others) because of it? 
  •  Is it the place of General Petraeus to address this issue? 
  • Why all the chatter about “offending” Muslims with our First Amendment rights? 

I’ll start with Petraeus comments on Jones’ Koran burning:

It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” said Petraeus of the plan.

“It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community,” the general said in an emailed statement.

I agree with Petraeus.  It is likely, because of those who threaten and kill in the name of Islam, that this incident will further inspire their murderous tendencies.    Free Speech usually has that effect on them.

What I question is the appropriateness of Petraues’ speaking out on the issue.  I lean more towards the view of  Ben Stein on this:  

Of course, as one might expect, some Muslims are infuriated by this plan and I don’t blame them. It’s infuriating. But it’s still protected by the Constitution as an exercise of religious freedom.

Now comes General Petraeus, who says that people are rioting over this in Afghanistan, which is true, and that the church should not go ahead with its planned burning because it will make Muslims angry at the U.S. and they will take it out on U.S. troops.

Now, I am sure General Petraeus has a good point here. But, here is a bigger point: we are not supposed to have military men telling American civilians what they can and cannot do in their houses of worship. Yes, General Petraeus is an important figure. By the way, he’s also the soldier who said American support of Israel made Muslims angry at U.S. troops and I don’t think Generals are supposed to be making foreign policy either. But certainly, generals, even with a lot of stars on their epaulets, are not in charge of free speech and religious observance here.

What is disturbing is the length that our leaders, including Petraeus, will go to accommodate the threats of radical Islam.  Where does  this type of dhimmitude end?

The  enemy Petraeus is fighting in Afghanistan is composed of “radical” Islamists who want us dead.  They hate us for our Constitution, our freedom, our Christianity, and more. 

Michelle Malkin makes this point best:

But what’s in the Koran is far more of an inflammatory threat to American soldiers than any match with which to light it. What’s in the Koran has inspired decades of bloody warfare by Muslim operatives targeting our troops, civilians, and Western infidels around the world.

Isn’t it Petraeus’ job to fight the enemy for all they stand for?  Those who “protest” Jones’ actions with murder should be the targets of our military around the world.

Muslims praying in the streets of New York. (Source: Atlas Shrugs Blog)

Exactly, Michelle….we should be fighting what they stand for and defending what we stand for.

And for all of the talk of “radical Islam” and its conquering tendencies what do you call “moderate” Muslims taking over the streets of Paris, New York, and Dearborn, Michigan.  They should be arrested in the US for disorderly conduct.   Where is the press and the Obama administration on that?   At what point do we stop this infiltration of a religion (radicals and so-called moderates) that wishes to conquer the world?

More from Stein:

Really, it’s even worse than that. He is saying that freedom of religion in America makes his job more difficult. But free exercise of religion comes way before how difficult his job is.

Exactly…..perhaps instead of (or in addition to) Petraeus’ speaking the obvious about the enemy we fight, why not mention that our First Amendment rights are the very thing he seeks to defend?  Instead of speaking out against Jones’ right to burn the Koran, why not defend his right to do so where the Afghans (and Muslims around the world) hear it loud and clear?  

It seems to me that hearing our military leaders defending the rights and freedoms of Americans would go a long way in helping our enemy understand our values.  Instead, the message they received from Petraeus was one of asking Americans to cower under the threat of an enemy….and, as we know from history, weakness fuels the fire under our enemies around the world.

Stein again:

And, yes, we don’t want to offend Muslims, but why would we even consider sacrificing our freedom of religious expression to cater to them? And what kind of war is won by kowtowing to the people who hate us?

I could not have said it better.

 But just why has this become such a worldwide news item?  This is a small church with a pastor previously unknown to most of the world.  I read about this pastor’s plans a few weeks ago and thought not much about it.  My first reaction was that it seemed a really questionable thing to do but I didn’t consider it worthy of worldwide news.   Small, peaceful protests of one kind or another happen almost everyday in this country, but they don’t get the attention of this one.  Why?

Jones’ efforts have taken on a life of its own.  Why is that?   Why is this now a worldwide issue instead of a local one?  Why do we have a General, the Vatican, and the Obama administration, among others, speaking out on Jones’ actions?

As is usual, I think the media has run with the story, because it is “politically correct” and it fits the leftist message of anti-Americanism, anti-Christian, and pro-Islamism so rampant in our institutions today.    

As some have pointed out, the burning of religious books/documents is not a new phenomenon in the world.   And, I’m sure this won’t be the last.

It may be a stupid and tasteless thing to do, but it is Mr. Jones’ right to do so. 

Which leads me to the Ground Zero Mosque (GZM)…..wasn’t it just weeks ago we had this same debate about rights vs. proper judgement?    This issue is similar.  The imam has the right to build a mosque at Ground Zero, where 3000 Americans were murdered in the name of his religion.  But it is NOT the right thing to do.  It is classless, tasteless, and, some would say, an attempt for the imam and his followers to dance on the grave of the Americans murdered there in the name of Islam.

Mr. Jones certainly has the right to protest by burning Korans, but it is NOT the right nor smart thing to do.  It certainly does nothing to honor and remember those murdered on September 11, 2001.

But ironically, many of those in the Obama administration and Congressional leaders spoke up that the  GZM was “pro-American” and  proper.  Now the Obama administration believes that Jones’ free expression is “un-American”?   Why the discrepancy? 

The Administration and Pelosi on the GZM:

Barack Obama: …..As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.  

Nancy Pelosi: There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,” she said.

Where is Nancy Pelosi’s demand for investigations into who ginned up the press and the world against the actions of Jones?  Where is her concern for the threats against our soldiers and Americans from those who wish us harm?

Contrast these views the administration’s current view regarding Jones:

PJ Crowley, Clinton State Dept spokesman : “We think that these are provocative acts,” ……. “We would like to see more Americans stand up and say that this is inconsistent with our American values; in fact, these actions themselves are un-American.

Eric Holder, Obama’s DOJ    ….idiotic and dangerous…..           

While I agree that Jones efforts are idiotic and wrong, freedom of expression is NOT un-American, just as the building of a mosque in America is not un-American.  They are just both very wrong.   Why the discrepancy in the Obama administration?  Why defend the Islamic right to express with a symbol of conquer, but not Jones’ right to express his disdain for murder in the name of Islam?

Perhaps part of the answer lies in the words of General Petraeus regarding the Koran burning…..Jones’ actions are not just stupid, but they do pose a danger. 

While Americans peacefully protest the mosque at Ground Zero, the Islamic world will threaten and murder because of Jones’ actions.   American troops and Christians around the world will be targets.  The teachings of Islam   and the  irrational responses of radical Islam makes Jones’ action a dangerous act.  

An interesting side note regarding free speech and religion, the military, the press, and our leaders…. in 2009 it was reported that the military destroyed BIBLES in Afghanistan that belonged to and were private property of a soldier.  The Bibles were translated in the local Pashto and Dari languages.   While I understand rules are instrumental to military success, it is quite questionable whether the military had the right to destroy the Bibles. 

Why not just reprimand the soldier if rules of proselytizing in the area were broken?  (But there was no proof the Bibles were ever used to evangelize)

Why not simply return the Bibles to the US? 

To what extent does our military go, General Petraeus, in order to ‘convert’ the Afghans to an understanding of our freedoms?  To not “offend the sensibilities” of the enemy?

Does burning the Bible of Christianity really aid in that effort or play into their hands? 

What do we teach them when burning the Bibles of a soldier is OK, but burning the Koran, in a free country, is not?

Where was the press on the Bible burning issue?  Where were the statements of our military leaders?  The Vatican?  The Obama administration? 

Think about those things.

 And don’t forget that just this year the Pentagon/Army disinvited well-known evangelist Franklin Graham to the National Day of Prayer breakfast simply for speaking out against the brutally of Islam in many areas of the world. 

What message does that send about America to our enemies? 

Did that change any hearts to our direction or embolden those who preach, kill, and maim in the name of Islam?

The Obama administration has frittered away our tax dollars by giving millions to the GZM imam so that he can PROMOTE/evangelize Islam around the world…..but if one soldier dares to possess a Bible in the local Afghan languages, with no proof they were ever used to proselytize, those very books must be destroyed.  And a prominent Christian minister who spreads love, hope, and help throughout the world is disinvited by our government leaders because he dared to tell the truth about those who brutalize in the name of Islam.

I don’t know about you, but my tax money going to promote Islam around the world, particularly at a time when the Left is doing all it can to make America a country free FROM Christianity, offends MY sensibilities….but it seems our leaders don’t care about that.

What good is a war where we are more concerned about the thoughts of our enemy than the rights of Americans? 

As much as I dread and/or feel sadness each time I hear of an American killed in the war, couldn’t it be argued that their sacrifices are in vain when Americans are pressured to forego their rights in order to cater to the  “thoughts” of the very enemy against which they died fighting?

We live in a time of uncertainty in America.  I believe many Americans are uncertain not only about their economic future and prosperity, but also about the future of their freedoms and the destruction of our Constitution.

Our Constitution and freedoms should be defended at all cost…and the very values they promote should be spread throughout the world, not demeaned “in the name of war” by our very own leaders.

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