Qur’an Burning and You

If you’re angry or disturbed over those myopic cabbage heads in Florida who plan to burn a Qur’an or two (hundred), maybe your counterpart exists in a country where our flag is burned.

Original story: msnbc.com | September 9th, 2010

Seriously, isn’t it possible that your kindred spirit in Iran, Somalia, or Pakistan is shaking his or her head over news reports of fellow countrymen desecrating the Stars and Stripes? My mom taught my brothers and I never to open our mouths until we’d imagined our feet in the other guy’s shoes. And so, as we learned this week of the widespread criticism aimed at David Koresh’s — ‘er, ‘scuse me, Terry Jones’s –on-again, off again plans to burn the Qur’an at his Dove “World Outreach” Center in Gainesville, I couldn’t help but wonder about our comrades in other countries. Are they watching American flags being torched in their streets and saying, “Look at how ignorant these idiots make us seem to the rest of the world”?

I’m thinking yes.

I believe that in every country there are people like you and me who are wrongly characterized by the shortsighted actions of those in feverish need of attention. Like anyone embarrassed for those fools who riot after their team wins the big game, or anyone affected by communities and societies that, by way of distraction and passivity, condone attention-whores and scandal-fluffers like, say, the Westboro Baptist loonies or Balloon Boy’s parents. ‘Ol Pastor Terry probably figures he’s just doing what he’s seen other Americans so often get away with lately: give dignity the finger and publicly shame themselves and their country for profit. Problem is, just as defiling national flags is an affront to diplomacy; Qur’an burning is hateful and brainless. It probably won’t end well for anyone. And some of us just don’t want to be associated with the lowest common denominator reaction no matter what country we happen to be taxed by.

So where I can, I try to stay focused on the thought that some local fishermen dude off the coast of Kenya could be thinking (in Swahili), “What A-holes these pirates are! I’m tryin’ to feed my family here!” And because you and I and he might have more in common than any of us imagines, we shouldn’t allow those who stir up the media for personal gain to provoke us. Our differences are not an excuse to hate.