Whatever Happens, No Apologies Please

Terry Jones, who by now is known worldwide, is one ballsy pastor. 

Spitting in the face of General Petraeus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the rodeo clown, Glenn Beck, he vows to go on with his mission to incinerate the Word of God Allah.

It appears Pastor Jones has heard from Allah God on the matter and he says he aint budgin’.  After all, when God Allah God speaks, you gotta listen.

No matter what one thinks about the Reverend’s actions—and I’m sure there are plenty of religious folks around these parts who have at least some sympathy for him—what does it say about the state of Islamic sensibilities if one insignificant American clergyman can threaten to set a copy of the Quran on fire and large swaths of Muslims in all corners of the world will wax nasty on the rest of us?

We have been pouring billions of dollars into efforts to make the Islamic world love us, despite our having invaded a couple of their countries, killed a lot of their citizens, and broken a lot of their stuff.  And apparently one crazy Pentecostal preacher in Florida can undo all the good will money can buy with his book-burning bonanza.  Man, we have a long way to go.

And I don’t get the reaction of our domestic guardians of American patriotism, the Glenn Becks, the Sarah Palins, and Sean Hannitys, who have to varying degrees said the pastor shouldn’t do what Allah God is telling him to do.

Why not? I wonder.  We’re Americans by God  Allah. We can do whatever we want.  And we can do it without repercussions.  Ever since Barack Obama “apologized” for a couple of America’s “mistakes,” conservative patriots have told us that what we do as Americans has no effect on how others view us, how others treat us, how others may want to do us harm. 

And we certainly don’t have a damn thing to apologize for.

If terrorists want to commandeer airliners and use them as missiles, those acts haven’t the slightest connection to what we have done in the past, to our foreign policy.  If folks around the world get some pleasure out of burning American flags, it’s not because we have given them the tiniest reason. If we kill innocents abroad with invisible drones, there’s no legitimate reason why their families may resent us, no justifiable reason why they might want to assault us.

Yet now that conservative hero David Petraeus has given the word that the pastor ought to put his matches back in his pocket, the right-wing is urging this earnest man of Allah God  to pull back, so as not to endanger our “troops.” 

Well, let’s hope that they are this reflective about how other actions we take as Americans might affect the larger world, about how our cowboy foreign policy may have lasting effects, about how demagoging the issue of building a Muslim community center near Ground Zero might also endanger our fighting men and women.

Let’s hope these conservatives will think twice before they want to invade another country, kill their citizens, and break their stuff, because those things have long-term consequences. 

Yes, let’s hope.

And let’s hope that if Pastor Jones does fill the sky with Quranic ashes, that these folks don’t rush to apologize for his actions, telling Muslims around the world that most Americans condemn his act and are repulsed at book burning of any kind.

Because no matter what we Americans do, we don’t have to apologize for it.  We don’t have to be like Barack Obama and tell the world that because of our love of liberty we sometimes make mistakes, individually and collectively.

That would just be too much.


UPDATE: Apparently, after a request from President Obama to “listen to those better angels” and stop the nonsense, Pastor Jones has reportedly said he wants to hear from someone in the government, hearing from God obviously not sufficiently comforting.


  1. The response to this has had me puzzled. When the Dutch Mohammad Cartoon Snafu was going down, most Americans were down with the free speech and empathized with the cartoonist. This pastor burns a Koran, and suddenly he’s the next Fred Phelps. They’re both equally disrespectful of Islam. The only difference is one involves fire and is being committed by a rival patriarchal religion rather than an irreverent unbeliever.

    I say, good for Pastor Jones. Knock yourself out burning that Koran. People can trash books, flags, logos, whatever. Other people are free to trash the trashing. That’s free speech yo.


    • Kaje,

      I wouldn’t say that drawing an irreverent cartoon of the Prophet and burning the Quran were equally disrespectful, but I totally agree with your point about free speech, however dumb and pointless the speech is.

      The pastor thinks he is saying something important by burning the book and he is free to say it. But in my opinion, he could have registered a more rational critique of Islam by citing the Quran rather than burning it.

      Whatever the point is he is trying to make, it is lost in the act itself. It’s sort of like when a guy gets mad at another guy in a bar who has been a jerk. Killing the guy usually isn’t the answer, since the last thing anyone wants to hear at that point is, “That guy was an asshole.”



      • Duane,

        It appears that God, speaking through an FBI agent, has convinced Terry Jones to cancel the Qu’ran burning festivities. “We have accomplished our goal,” said the former “Lonesome Dove” ranch hand.

        I guess God wanted Jones to personally inspect an official FBI ID badge before throwing in the lighter fluid.

        Although Jones won’t receive the Holy Spirit’s glow while torching heathen reading material, he might get a shot at becoming a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” as a consolation prize.



        • Juan,

          In fact, speaking of Celebrity Apprentice, I heard Donald Trump offered to buy the building near Ground Zero that will allegedly house the Islamic Terrorist Community Center . Of course, as Lawrence O’Donnell told the Donald this morning, why not give the guy who owns the building the entire $25 million he wants? If the Donald really cared about solving the “crisis” rather than getting even more pub, then he would pay the guy’s price.

          Similarly, I’d say the Donald could buy Pastor Jones off with a two or three week gig on his show. That would make Mr. Trump a Great American and maybe even land him a spot on The Republican News Network as a special envoy to Islam-hating conservatives.



          • Duane,

            It’s a small world. Terry Jones and Rush Limbaugh were classmates at Cape Girardeau’s Central High, class of 1969.



  2. Jane Reaction

     /  September 10, 2010

    The worst college town in this state, Cape has no entertainment or culture ergo Jones and Limpbaugh.


  3. A man named Van Riehl was quoted on capecentralhigh.com:

    I think this guy may have been on my Babe Ruth team, The Mets. Interestingly enough so was Rush Limbaugh.

    Now, how many people can say they played ball with a couple of intellectual heavyweights like Limbaugh and Jones? It figures it was on a team called the Mets.



    • Duane,

      This is just a guess, but I’d wager eight pesos that the best pitcher had a nasty screwball.

      I’m not very familiar with Cape Giradeau. Years ago I spent a long weekend there but only remember eating decent catfish and getting lost trying to find a liquor store. It‘s an unfortunate coincidence for Jones, as he had no control over who was in his class.



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