This afternoon, I heard a brief snippet of an interview with Pastor [sic] Terry Jones of that miserable little church in Florida which is going to mark September 11 this year by burning copies of the Qur’an.
Jones said he understands that “Moslems” (his pronunciation, not mine, though I suppose I should be thankful he did not call them “Mohammedans”) will be offended at what he is doing, but (noting that apparently violent Islam has everyone in thrall, including General David Petreus) that he is offended whenever “Moslems” burn “the Bible or the American flag.”
I suppose it’s possible that Muslims somewhere would have burned a Bible or two (maybe Marxist Arabs, as there are a few), but I’ve not heard of such things. Most Muslims do not venerate the Bible anywhere near as much as the Qur’an, but would respect its contents (to the extent they believe them to be true, which is only partly), being as the Qur’an itself tells (and retells) many Bible stories (especially those from the Tanakh) and venerates many biblical figures — especially Abraham and Moses. No Muslim I have ever met would think burning a Bible was a good or worthwhile thing.
But it’s that second bit that gets me. Jones is placing the Qur’an — which Muslims view as the eternal word of God incarnate in the world — on par with the inanimate piece of cloth that is the American flag. For Jones, and too many other Americans, the flag is clearly an object of worship, even perhaps the presence of God in the midst of the people (especially when the President of the United States is NOT a Republican). I can think of no better example of the death-dealing idolatry of American nationalism than that.4:37 pm on September 7, 2010 Email Charles H. Featherstone