Faith and restraint

OK, so a guy takes a book, one of them there holy books, soaks it in kerosene, and torches it. Fine. Whatever. But thousands of miles away, people who love this particular book get so bent out of shape about the deed that they run amok and kill some nice people who have nothing to do whatsoever with the burning of the book. The mob doesn’t just scare the nice people or shout at them or even rough them up a little. It kills them. It hunts them down and shoots them.

It’s times like these when I feel a lot like Brian Wilson. No, not the Brian who pitches for the Giants, but the Brian who was in the Beach Boys. It was that Brian who wrote the song, “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times.” I read of events like those that broke out in Afghanistan after Terry Jones burned the Koran, and I can see Mr. Wilson’s point.

Here’s how life would work on Planet BVD. If some guy had a bone to pick with a religion, he could indeed do exactly the same thing as Mr. Jones. He would have the complete freedom to burn a book as a way of expressing displeasure of some kind with those who hold the book in high regard.

Those who follow the book that was burned would undoubtedly hear of the blasphemous deed. And the typical follower would say to himself, “My. That fellow has burned the book that I really love with all my heart. Hmmmm. I wonder what this dude’s problem is? Well, no matter. For I can see that he is a hillbilly of questionable intelligence living in an area famed for people having sex with their relatives/livestock. Therefore, his beef with my book is not my concern. His opinion, whatever it may be, has the same significance to my life as does this dried snotcake that I shall now wipe off the nostril of my camel. Why should I think one second longer about the rankling agitations of a distant moron?”

That would be the end of it. Most importantly, the thought of killing a nice person from Sweden as a somehow appropriate response to the actions of the hillbilly bookburner wouldn’t flash in even one person’s mind. Not even for a nanosecond. All of the minds of the offended booklovers, having now processed and dismissed the yo-yonic actions of the faraway fool, would instead be attuned to their upcoming morning coffee/cigarette break. And properly so. There would be, after all, much gossip to catch up on.

It should be noted that, as far as I can tell, hundreds of millions of Muslims on planet Earth reacted to Mr. Jones’ antics in exactly the way I’ve described.

And finally, how would you like to be Terry Jones’ insurance agent?