“It’s Called Extortion” – Another Defense Of Pastor Terry Jones’ 1st Amendment Rights

This is an op-ed by Gary Bauer – American Values

It speaks for itself –

It’s Called Extortion

Yesterday, Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, backed off from his pledge to burn Korans on 9/11. Others in at least three states are now promising to follow through if Jones does not. I’ve already made the point that this tactic is stupid. There are two wars going on – one on battlefields and one for hearts and minds. You don’t win the latter war when you engage in offensive tactics. Instead of burning the Koran, I recommend that he read passages from it and then ask Muslims if they embrace those passages that urge violence against non-believers.

Having said that, it is equally disgusting to see the president, the FBI and others embracing what amounts to jihadist extortion. Here’s what I mean: Jones was threatening to burn a Koran and if he does we’re being told there will be violence against America all over the world. It is one thing to say this is a bad idea. But it’s another thing to use this threat of mayhem as a justification for denying Pastor Jones’ First Amendment rights.

There is no justification for others to engage in “holy war” as a result of the burning of a Koran. In no normal arena, in no normal culture can there be equivalency between an offensive symbolic act and the killing of human beings. And the president of all people should be making that case.

How many Christians rioted, how many people died when our tax dollars were used to put a crucifix in a vat of urine? (Perhaps the Left would be applauding Pastor Jones if he had requested a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.) How many Buddhists rioted when the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddahs? Where was the outrage when Hamas militants burned Bibles and crosses in Gaza?

Rather than kowtowing to extremists, President Obama should have denounced the burning of any religious text. But he also should have forcefully condemned the threats of violence and promised swift retaliation if American lives are threatened.

This pastor has a congregation that is smaller than Michelle Obama’s staff. But he has raised an issue that is much bigger and far more important than the ill-advised burning of a Koran – the violent propensity of so many adherents of the “religion of peace.”

On the one hand, we’re constantly being told that Islam is a religion of peace. On the other hand, public officials from the president down are gripped by fear over the potential reaction of Muslims if a Koran is burned. And seeing our weakness, Imam Feisal Rauf has now elevated his planned Ground Zero mega-mosque to the level of a national security issue. He told CNN this week that if the mosque has to move, American blood might be spilled. Here’s what he said:

“If we move from that location, the story will be that the radicals have taken over the discourse. The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack. …if we do move, it will strengthen the argument of the radicals to recruit, their ability to recruit, and their increasing aggression and violence against our country. …our national security now hinges on how we negotiate this, how we speak about it, and what we do. …

“If you don’t do this right, anger will explode in the Muslim world. If this is not handled correctly, this crisis could become much bigger than the Danish cartoon crisis… If we don’t handle this crisis correctly, it could become something which could really become very, very, very dangerous indeed.”

So now we must build a mosque at Ground Zero and if we don’t, Muslims will riot and murder. If we burn a Koran, Muslims will riot and murder. If we print cartoons, Muslims will riot and murder. Where does it end? When we retreat from the Middle East? When we abandon Israel? When America bows to Mecca?

By the way, a federal judge yesterday struck down the military’s “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” policy. In some Islamic nations, homosexuality is punishable by death. Can you imagine what the reaction of America’s elites would be if we said that open homosexuality in the U.S. military would enrage the Muslim world?


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