There is an aspect of this "International Burn the Koran Day" that is not getting the attention that I think it merits.
At this point, a lot of people are getting worked up over the fact that this Koran burning will be a "recruitment field day for Al-Queida" and that it will "Put American troops in danger."
The question not being asked is, "What type of people would do this?"
Some hate-mongering bigot in Florida is going to burn a Koran, so, as a result, these people are going to join a cult that murders innocent people.
Let's be honest about one thing. It's not just American troops in Afghanistan who are being put in danger. You and I are having our lives threatened. These recruits that will be inspired by Terry Jones' action are going to be looking for ways to destroy the airplanes that you and I will be flying in, or destroying the buildings that you and I will be working in. They are going to be trying to kill us, our families, our children, our neighbor's children, all because some hate-mongering bigot in Florida burned a pile of books.
Sometimes you have to pay attention to these types of threats. If you are enjoying a pizza in the park with your 10-year-old son, and some guy comes up with a gun and says, "Give me the pizza or I will blow the kid's brains all over the table," you can enter into a discussion with them over the finer points of property rights. And you can stubbornly refuse on the bases that he has no moral right to take the pizza.
Or you can give him your pizza and figure out how to get this maniac off of the streets as soon as your kid is safe.
Just to be clear, I am entirely opposed to the book burning - in part because it is a book burning and only intellectual cowards will destroy rather than confront the ideas they think are mistaken. In part I oppose it because it is hate-mongering bigotry of the same type that is responsible for the Park51 protests and, in fact, of the same type that made the 9-11 attacks possible.
It is NOT the case that burning these books is as innocent an act as eating a pizza with one's kid. It is more akin to attending a KKK meeting - and having somebody who objects to the meeting threaten to blow the brains out of some innocent child he picked up in a nearby town if the KKK meeting isn't stopped.
But let's not forget to ask the question - what type of person would threaten to kill and maim innocent people to stop something that they find objectionable that is, itself non-violent?
We are never going to live in a safe and civilized society if it is filled with people whose morality allows them to get their way in all things by threatening to kill innocent people.
And as long as we throw our support to those who threaten to maim and murder innocent people unless we meet their demands, we can expect to find the practice of threatening to maim and murder innocent people becoming more and more popular.
At this moment, the only people I hear willing to say something of the form, "Threatening to kill innocent people in order to get your way regarding the burning of the Koran is wrong," are the members of the hate-mongering bigot in Florida.
For the most part, we are all being told we must take sides. We have the hate-mongering book-burning bigot cult in Florida on the one side, and a different religious cult whose members who think it's perfectly permissible to force others to do what they want by threatening to maim and kill innocent people on the other.
And we have to choose.
Which side do you want to be on?
Not that the members of the threaten to maim and murder innocent people cult are particularly averse to destroying the icons of other religions. The Taliban, after all, blew up 1500-year-old statues without a thought to the concerns of the rest of the world. Though, admittedly, the rest of the world - the civilized world - did not threaten to maim and murder innocent people if the statues were destroyed.
(See: Wikipedia, Buddhas of Bamyan)
Somebody should be asking the moral question, "What types of people are these that they are making these kinds of threats?"
And somebody should be pointing out to them, "Hey, civilized people don't make death threats even against the people who burn books - let alone threaten to maim and kill innocent people (including children) - as a way to impose their will on others. That type of behavior is, to say the least, primitive and barbaric."