The pastor who gets himself in the news by periodically threatening to burn copies of the Koran has done it again. This time he threatened to burn 2,998 copies of it (one for very person killed in in the 9/11 attack) on the anniversary but he and his assistant pastor were stopped and arrested by police as they were taking the fixings to the bonfire site, and slapped with a felony charge of “unlawful conveyance of fuel”, plus a misdemeanor charge of “unlawful open-carry of a firearm”, and also for not having a valid registration for the trailer.
This is getting to be a farce. If Jones wants to burn books, let him. There is no way that you can stop him and by trying to do so you give him the publicity he craves. He probably hopes that he will be stopped so that he will become a First Amendment martyr. Of course, some Muslims are going to riot if he carries out the threat but it is not advisable to get between two groups of unreasonable people, those trying to create offense and those who are easily offended.
On the TV show Crossfire in 1986, the late Frank Zappa was pitted against some journalists who were arguing that the words of some popular songs were offensive and should not be allowed. Zappa’s response was that they were just words. It was hilarious to watch him calmly make John Lofton look like a fool.
Zappa was right.
I don’t like the idea of burning any books at all, nor of needlessly going out of one’s way to inflame passions, but the thought of giving religious books special protection strikes me as silly. They just consist of words, after all, like every other book.