September 10, 2010

How To Be In Favour of Book Burning

So the ageing Yosemite Sam (of COURSE he's in Florida!) has decided to call off burning however many Korans his 15-person ministry could afford - call it a dozen or so. If it weren't for the fact that clearly insane people in the Middle East would flip out even more than they normally do if he had gone through with it, the story would be a two-inch segment on "News of the Weird" and that would be that.

If we lived in a sane world, that is.

Unfortunately, we live in a place where symbols take precedence over the actual; where the Platonic means more than the real. In the same way that the cartoons of Mohammed changed Islam not a whit, the burning of a few Korans in Florida would have affected the faith in absolutely no way. None. Zip. Zero.

The American flag has been burned - repeatedly - in countries around the world. Sure, usually it's in the Middle East, but why limit your view? It's caught fire in every nation in existence. Hell, one's probably been burned for fuel by clumsy expeditionists in Antarctica for all I know. And the grand total of foreign policy affected by these burnings has been... (drum roll please)...


There was quite the little streak of puritanism in the United States (really? How shocking!) that led to an awful lot of book burning, album crushing, and drug banning, but somehow they didn't manage to crush out the ideas. Frankly, if you bought the book, why shouldn't you be allowed to do whatever the heck you want with it? It's YOUR book! If you're too stupid to read it, that's not my problem.

There's a reason why book burning simply isn't done any more - it's not effective. (For future reference: Though Kindles are appropriately named for burning, I really suggest you stick to the traditional paper format...) Trying to pressure schools and libraries from buying the book, now THAT'S more effective!

As for people getting their knickers in a twist about the "desecration" of a holy book, I'm afrraid I have some bad news for you: it's already happened. That's right!

There are Bibles that have been reduced to ash.
There are Korans that have been run through shredders.
There are Torahs that are rotting in compost heaps.

And all of it is happening RIGHT NOW! Millions of these things have been printed over the course of history, and that means millions have been destroyed in various and sundry ways. And if anyone, anywhere, can tell me how this has destroyed their faith, then maybe it was a good thing.

Because if that was all it took, you probably never had much faith to begin with.


posted by Thursday at 6:58 pm


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