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In Which I (Partially) Agree With Sarah Palin


Sarah Palin loves her some Facebook posting:
Book burning is antithetical to American ideals. People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation – much like building a mosque at Ground Zero.

I would hope that Pastor Terry Jones and his supporters will consider the ramifications of their planned book-burning event. It will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance. Don’t feed that fire. If your ultimate point is to prove that the Christian teachings of mercy, justice, freedom, and equality provide the foundation on which our country stands, then your tactic to prove this point is totally counter-productive.

Our nation was founded in part by those fleeing religious persecution. Freedom of religion is integral to our charters of liberty. We don’t need to agree with each other on theological matters, but tolerating each other without unnecessarily provoking strife is how we ensure a civil society. In this as in all things, we should remember the Golden Rule. Isn’t that what the Ground Zero mosque debate has been about?
Well, kind of Ms. Palin...

You see, I'm with you on the 'Constitutional right' argument. I think that there is absolutely nothing legally wrong with what Terry Jones and his, err, flock have been planning to do. The same holds true for the folks who are planning the Park51 project in New York City -- they are free to build whatever they want on property that they own.

However, to compare the two is akin to comparing apples and oranges: they are both fruit, but different kinds of fruit. These two subjects are related (both topics involve the religion of Islam), but are very different after you get beneath the surface.

The major difference is this: burning another religion's holy book is an overt act of defiance. By doing so, the burner is clearly attempting to provoke a reaction from followers of the religion. Building an community center in Manhattan on the other hand, I do not see a provocation. Sure, some folks may choose to perceive a provocation of some kind, but it's not nearly as blatant as burning a holy book. Oh, and trying to get the media to cover it, LIVE!

But, I come back to my (Palin's) first point: there is no legal recourse for either issue. Jones is free to burn as many Qurans as he likes, and the Cordoba House folks are free to build their "Ground Zero Mosque" (which, for the record, is neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque).

End of (my) story.

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Photo: John Raoux/AP