You may suspect, as I do, that our nation and society are in a transformational period. Our brain-dead regulators and politicians will not allow us to capitalize on our natural resources, thus condemning us to the avarice and whims of other nations and commercial entities. Our political class and their sleazy financial cohorts operate under the deadly notion that merely printing money and tossing into the wind will stabilize our precarious fiscal condition. We have a constant barrage of information about whether our president is lazy, stupid, a socialist or a Marxist. Well, in my view, the answer is “yes.” Our departments and agencies are tightening the regulatory screws on our citizens and our businesses resulting in a more constricted area for personal decision making. Given this why would I want to write about a goofy preacher from Florida? The reason is that his rights and my rights are the same although we may choose to exercise them differently. If his rights are illegally, unconstitutionally and unfairly limited, my rights may be the next to be curtailed by the strong arm of government.
As a born-again Christian, I am not especially fond of the Qur’an…primarily those verses that label me as a target for the sword of Islam. As a Christian, I am hurt and offended when someone chooses to burn a Bible. As a Christian who has 18 Bibles in my bookshelf representing 11 translations or interpretations, I understand that the Word of God is not so much what we find on a replaceable printed book, but what is irreplaceably imbedded in our hearts and minds. If the printed form of the Word rather than the meaning of the Word were the holy aspect, we would not need Wycliffe Bible Translators because the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic could not be tampered with or altered. This is my long-winded explanation for expressing how puzzling I find it that: a) Terry Jones chose to burn the Koran, and b) Muslims have bunched their panties into a bloodthirsty wad. In my view, Jones is a buffoon, and Islamic fanatics are dangerous.
So Florida Pastor Terry Jones travels to Dearborn, Michigan, to protest outside a mosque. It seems strange that he bypassed us here in Toledo because we have a sizable, quite visible mosque alongside I-75. He might have saved gasoline and time if he had stopped here. For those of you who recall that Dearborn represents Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company and Greenfield Village, things have changed there. Muslims represent approximately 30% of the population in Dearborn and obviously 100% of the political and intimidation power. As a result of their influence, Jones was jailed after a hastily assembled trial found him and his motley horde of 10 followers “as likely to create a ‘breach of the peace’ in light of his plans to protest outside the Islamic Center of America.” Jones and his sidekick, Wayne Sapp, were taken into custody following their refusal to post a $1.00 bond. The size of the bond should provide a clue about the seriousness of the charge. Pastor Jones’ First Amendment right for free speech was summarily denied because of local Dearborn officials fears that hordes of Muslims would burn, kill and rampage much as they had done at various places around the globe when Jones torched their holy book.
There appear to be two gross miscalculations by the tyrannical political leadership in Dearborn. First, they apparently believe that politically correct behavior trumps the Constitution with the borders of the United States of America. Second, for some reason the political leadership of Dearborn assumed that the Muslim citizens of Dearborn would react to Mr. Jones’ presence in a manner similar to outbursts in Pakistan, Jordan and Indonesia. The actions of the public officials were a blatant violation of Terry Jones’ rights and an egregious insult to the Muslim citizens of Dearborn. The Dearborn politicos stepped in it with both feet. Constitutional rights are an endangered species in modern America, and the Dearborn fiasco illustrated it perfectly.
As an afterthought: Some pundits have suggested that Jones’ protest was a provocation and was justifiably prevented. They cite the “shouting fire in a crowded theater” justification for curtailing potentially unpopular speech. I am becoming sick of this “straw-man” argument because the Supreme Court decision is based on “falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater.” In others words…an intentionally false statement made for the express purpose for creating chaos and harm may in some instances be restricted. Terry Jones was protesting based on his faith. If panic occurred, it was not his faith but the extreme reactions of his audience that would be the igniting element. If the Dearborn officials truly believed that Jones’ appearance would lead to violence, then their obligation would have been to restrain the 30% of their city who were most likely to become violent and deadly. In Dearborn’s defense…it’s the nature of government to screw things up.