I am confused. As I watch General Petraeus expressing his concerns over the planned Koran burning at an evangelical church in Gainesville, Florida, I am having trouble wrapping my head around why the General decided to speak to a domestic matter. He is clearly a very pragmatic individual so I have to believe he chooses his battles wisely. While clearly the burning of the Koran is ill-advised, discouraged and extremely distasteful, why has the military leader decided to weigh in now? General Petraeus is not the only official to do so. The White House, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General have chosen to speak out publically against Reverend Terry Jones and his church’s plan for an International Koran burning Day.
I guess my question is would anybody have even heard of this tiny church was it not for these high profile individuals taking to the airwaves to speak out against the event? Are they not making the book burning into a huge media event that otherwise may have been ignored? It’s a small church in a Florida town; they even meet in a metal building. I guess what I am saying is this is not some large major Christian denomination inciting hatred and blasphemy among its followers. Like it or not, in America there is freedom of speech. Barring a lack of a burn permit and regardless of how creepy any book burning is, it is protected under the first amendment and the Reverend is within his rights.
The argument has been made that this event in Florida will place our troops in harm’s way. Now nobody wants to see our military in any greater danger as a result of a senseless act, but I have a hard time understanding how an obscure church in Gainesville, Florida will place our military in any greater danger than say vacillating over policy for months or telegraphing a withdrawal date. Why Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, declaring the Iraq war lost and comparing our soldiers to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, did far more to harm our troops with their rhetoric because they are in positions of power. This congregation is just a small faction that probably would never have been heard of except on the local news. However, with all this free publicity, the Reverend Jones is now making the circuit of news shows gaining notoriety for his cause. What better way to get others to join in and organize similar protests than to give the guy a platform for his anti-Islamic hatred?
It just doesn’t add up to me. I mean let’s face it; our enemy has proven time and again that they hate everything about us and our way of life and the freedoms we enjoy. Should we reject our American tradition of freedom of speech so we don’t upset the enemy?
While the Reverend Jones’s incredibly insensitive publicity stunt should be condemned and he should be urged to cancel the event, we as Americans still embrace the fundamental individual right to free speech. By coercing him into cancelling the Koran burning and tempering speech out of fear, is this not playing directly into the hands of our enemies?