Of all the things I've written on Blogger, this is the one that will probably cause me the most trouble. However, I had always sought to be honest about my views. So, I will be honest.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the Florida Church burning the Koran on 9/11, which is just a few days away. Well, perhaps that is wrong, as controversy implies that there are two side fighting over something, while world wide all I have really seen is mass condemnations. The Pastor has been labels a Hater and it is said that his proposed deed is one of hate. Indeed, this may be reasonable. The interviews I've seen haven't revealed to me a man driven mad with hatred like so many accuse, but they are short clips chosen to support the views of various people, and without meeting this man in person, I cannot say for sure the nature of his mentality.
But I can make a judgment about his character.
He is no coward.
In the face of condemnations, death threats, the potential uprising of roughly 1.5 billion Muslims, and the general disgust of the entire world, this man stands firm in his beliefs and is not swayed from his course. Now, will this hold out through the burning of the Koran, I cannot say. We will not know until after 9/11. But to have lasted this long at all is impressive.
I believe it is well known at this point that I am a Germanic Heathen, namely Asatru. I do not speak for any organizations, nor for other followers of the Pagan and Heathen Paths. I have a very different perspective on things than most people because of this. I reject a good/evil moral dichotomy. If there are any dichotomies in my life's path, it is that of Order/Chaos or Honorable/Shameful. So looking at the objections to this Pastor's actions, I judge by my way, and not the way of mainstream society.
People say that this action is inspired by Hate, and thus it is bad. Perhaps for the Christians, hate is evil, but nothing in any records of the Heathen Norse did Hate come across as evil. Rather, justified hate was viewed as a good thing. So simply because this man hates is not reason enough for me to condemn him. Indeed, Hate was once as valued as Love. In Paganism/Heathenism we attempt to restore the balance of the world. To reject hate is Christian. This viewing of Hatred and Violence as evil that the Western world has now is at odds with the rest of the world's views. It is certainly at odds with the views of my ancient ancestors, and myself.
People say that burning books is evil and shameful, often throwing images of the Nazi's book burning. Again, I reject the notion of evil, as it does not really exist in my religious beliefs. However, Shame does, so it does hold merit. But permit me to judge the shamefulness of this action. It is not good to burn books. (Though, if one is to belief Dolf in the Expendables, "It is good to hang pirates"). I will agree that it is shameful to burn books, but what of the motive behind the burning of the book. Is it too, shameful? If this Pastor Terry Jones is to be believed, he is burning the Koran to send a message to Radical Islam.
Now, he has not to my knowledge defined what he views as Radical Islam. It could be just those Terrorists who attack in the name of Islam. It could be the larger Islamic community. I cannot answer this.
So, what is this message of Hate that he is sending out? Well, to this simple Heathen, it comes across as "You burn our people, we burn your book." "That it is time to confront terrorism. That we do not want Shariah Law." Now, I could be wrong about this, but that is the impression I've gotten both from him and from others commenting about him.
So, is this a shameful message? Certainly, many seem to view it as such. The controversy of the Park 51/Ground Zero Mosque has painted a picture that protests against Islam are all hateful and racist. Yet, I cannot help but remember back when the Twin Towers were struck down in the name of Allah, that much of America wanted not only to go get revenge, but wanted to blow up the holy centers of Islam. Such things were not viewed as shameful then. Did something change when I wasn't looking? More than likely. Whether this is good or not, I cannot say. I, however, do not consider it shameful to tell a group of people that commit mass murder in the name of their god to knock it off. Are there better methods than burning the holy book of that group? Probably.
But what other methods are there? Talking certainly doesn't seem to have helped. Going to war, too, has not brought the results hoped when we first sent soldiers overseas. I think that what this Pastor and his tiny church are doing is done because they feel powerless against a monolithic, violent enemy that their government has failed to do much of anything against. So, they are taking what power they can, glaring into the face of the enemy they see, and mocking it.
But they are not killing anyone. They are not advocating violence. At least, not that I have seen.
The same cannot be said for the rest of the world. Already much of the Islamic world is in a riot. America has set its embassies on high alert. People are saying that our troops will be in more danger (though I find this rather hard to believe because they are already in a war zone and therefore not in a safe place to start with).
In many ways, I have to laugh at some of the things people are trying to do to stop this. As I write, MSNBC started digging and implying that the Church involved is, in fact, a Cult. A great way for character assassination, but even if they succeed in defaming the Pastor's message, it has proven useless in stopping the proposed burning. They are also reporting that Terry Jones, the Pastor, will stop if called by the White House, Pentagon, Etc. Perhaps this is true. Perhaps he is just playing for time. Much is unknown.
What stands to happen though, is known. Should the Koran be burned, there will be a violent reaction across the world. Many are desperate to stop it, yet many question why the President doesn't step up more to stop it. It is hard to say. This is more than a religious statement by a Pastor of a tiny church. This is world wide politics.
Ultimately, true answers will not be known until after 9/11. Indeed, I suspect there will be violence this September 11th. In addition to the Koran burning, two protests about the Park 51/Ground Zero Mosque, both for and against. Should the Koran be burned, we will see riots. If those riots break out at the Mosque protest, I do wonder what will happen.
I can't say I completely agree with Pastor Terry Jones. I dislike Christianity as much as I dislike Islam. But I don't have to agree with a person to admire courage, which he appears to have in spades. If this was a mere publicity stunt, he could have gotten as much attention without the danger. The fact that he's earned himself a death sentience, especially if he does burn the Koran, speaks to something larger. He says his god is telling him to do this. I am not one to say this isn't true. While the Secular world may sneer, but as a Heathen I live with my gods and goddesses and in a way, from the stories of them and my own impressions I too hear their words.
So, irregardless of hatred or insanity, I admire the tiny Christian mouse that is roaring at the lions of this world.