Friday, April 08, 2011

At least, she read it first . . .

Ann Barnhardt
(Image from iOTW)

Ann Barnhardt is a name that may become more widely known than that of Terry Jones. Like Jones, she has recently burned a Qur'an. She did so in response to Senator Lindsey Graham's criticism of Mr. Jones because Senator Graham advocated curtailing Americans' freedom of speech. Here's what Senator Graham said on Face the Nation:
You know, I wish we could find some way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war. During World War II, you had limits on what you could do if it inspired the enemy.
That statement begins about 2:22 into the video. Ms. Barnhardt properly holds Senator Graham accountable, reminding him that free speech is more than a "great idea" in America; it's Constitutionally protected, and Mr. Jones has the legal right in the United States to express his opinion of the Qur'an. One might object that burning a Qur'an is hardly 'speech', but the Supreme Court has upheld such enacted expressions of opinion as protected under the Constitution.

Ms. Barnhardt then proceeds to express her opinion just as forcefully by also burning pages from the Qur'an, though after first reading aloud the verse that she objects to and stating "Evil, evil garbage." She does so after reading verses urging believers to battle against the pagans, advocating the beating of one's disobedient wife, and the like.

Interested readers can watch two videos of Ms. Barnhardt -- one criticizing Senator Graham and the other 'criticizing' the Qur'an -- and judge for yourself whether or not you agree with her.

I defend her right to freedom of expression, but personally, I would rather that people not burn Qur'ans. I'm not in favor of burning books. I prefer that people read a book, state what is in it that is offensive, and explain why it is offensive. This means putting the verse in context and showing why it is still offensive despite context. Reading without context, one could cite Psalm 137, verse 9:
Happy [shall he be], that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
And like Ms. Barnhardt, one could respond, "Evil, evil garbage."

Context, however, might justify a different response, such as was considered on a previous blog entry: Richard Swinburne: 'The Violence of the Old Testament'." On the other hand, one might disagree with Professor Swinburne and still consider the verse "Evil, evil garbage." And if one then proceeds to burn that page of the Bible, one is free to do so -- at least in America.

I don't think that many Jews or Christians would threaten violence in response, and that might say something good about what Judaism and Christianity teach the faithful in their religions.

But if any did threaten violence and carry it out, then they are the ones who should be held accountable . . .

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At 8:36 AM, Blogger Scott said...

It seems this is a short cut for these people, at least the original burner: Rather than engage the population they want to reach in a refutation of the Koran and/or condemnation of radical Islam, they publically burn the Koran knowing it will likely create riots in the Muslim world, often leading to deaths, which will damage the image of Islam, the Koran, and Muslims.

It is lazy and deadly.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Scott said...

On the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 21:18-21

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

I'd be dead by now if we were under law and that law was always followed...

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yeah, I'm happy not to live under a theocratic government run by human beings . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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