Monday, September 13, 2010

Texans Fight Intolerance

I was somewhat amused by this story from Amarillo, TX about a proposed Qu'ran-burning in a city park.

After the Florida book-burning was derailed, a group called Repent Amarillo took up the torches and pitchforks to burn the Islamic holy book on 9/11.

The group, Repent Amarillo, is run by David Grisham (not to be confused with either John Grisham, who has better things to do, or with David Grisman, who is awesome)and "aims to deter promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship practices through confrontation and prayer."

The demonstration attracted a crowd of about 200 protesters from both sides of the issue, among them 23-year-old Jacob Isom, who snagged the lighter-fluid-soaked book from Grisham's hands, told him "Dude, you have no Qu'ran," and took off. Someone else stole his lighter,and a bunch of folks put their hands on the barbecue grill that he planned to use as his Qu'ran Qu'reamatorium.

These folks set out to fight intolerance in their neighborhood and , Isom in particular, got it right. The way to fight religious extremism is not with religious extremism (see "Two Wrongs: Do They Make a Right?"), and religious persecution of any group is fundamentally un-American, and pretty un-Christian (see: "Love Thy Neighbor: It's Not Just a Suggestion").

The way to fight intolerance sometimes involves cutting loose with righteous indignation and calling down lightning from the heavens and calling out the 101st Airborne, but sometimes it doesn't. If local government had sicced the police on this guy, they would justifiably stand accused of suppressing his First Amendment rights. It would have been wrong. But if locals decided to make themselves a nuisance and make fun of him, that's pretty much acceptable practice for counter-protesting.

Sometimes, like I said, the way to fight intolerance is cutting loose the righteous wrath, other times, though, it's better to point and laugh.

Good job, Amarillo.

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