Is the Koran Burner an American Patriot?

So let me get this straight. Florida preacher Terry Jones burns the Koran as part of a religious protest and is promptly condemned by General David Petraeus? Jones’ act, the general says, “was hateful, it was intolerant and it was extremely disrespectful and again, we condemn it in the strongest manner possible."

Meanwhile, the United States military condones and participates in the burning of the Christian Bible. As CNN reported in May of 2009:

Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.

The American media elite are also wringing their hands over the burning of the Koran, and not just on the Left. Even Jonah Goldberg of National Review laments that "(b)urning books -- any books -- is bad. Burning holy books is really bad.” Uh, no. A book is a product, a piece of property, which can legitimately be used for reading, propping a door open, hiding cash (senior citizens only), decorating a shelf, shredding for an art project, burning in protest, or anything else its owner may desire.

You see, I’m terribly old fashioned. I believe that our constitutionally protected rights to free speech and private property were designed exactly for men like Jones (whose views are unpopular), and to provide sanctuary for exactly his kind of protest (which we may find morally unsavory). I also was under the impression that untold numbers of Americans have given their lives overseas so that all of us can enjoy these privileges here at home.

Terry Jones may be a bigot, but that is hardly the point. As far as I’m concerned, he is more of an American patriot that General Petraeus, who ought to be ashamed of himself for siding with the savages in Afghanistan, who have rioted and killed dozens because their “sensitivities” have been inflamed by the actions of one private American citizen. Really, who does he think he is? How dare Petraeus, the president, or any other U.S. official condone the state ordered burning of the Christian Bible, which is a far, far graver offense than the preacher’s inconsequential conflagration. You see it is when, and only when, the government decides which books are to be consigned to the flames that it is “really bad,” to use Goldberg’s eloquent formulation.

How long is the West going to remain hostage to the primitive sensibilities of illiterate thugs in the Third World? For how long will we let the Muslim world off the ethical hook, even going so far as to blame ourselves when they riot and slaughter over some perceived grievance? How long are we going to kid ourselves about this religion? In his response to Goldberg’s commentary on the Koran burning episode, Andrew McCarthy at NRO gives us a lesson on what the Islamic holy book actually teaches its adherents:

Sura 9 of the Koran, for example, states the supremacist doctrine that commands Muslims to kill and conquer non-Muslims (e.g., 9:5: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)."

And that’s not even the most reprehensible exhortations in Muhammad’s book. The Koran, McCarthy notes, implicitly endorses a “dehumanization of non-Muslims” that provides the psychological and moral sanction for their murder. Sounds to me like the Koran provides plenty of justification in its own pages for a non-Muslim like Terry Jones (or me) to be outraged enough to protest.

But no, protest is only admirable if it’s from the anti-war movement; burning is OK only for Bibles and American flags. Sure, burn the flag and the Bible -- those Christian Americans won’t do a thing. They are far too civilized to be dangerous. And really, who cares if they’re offended or not? They only make up most of the country’s population, do most of the work, pay most of the taxes. But be careful what you even say about the Koran, lest Ahmed in Pakistan hear you and take his outrage out on his (enslaved) wife or some other innocent bystander.

The world has truly turned upside down. Next you’ll be telling me we’re fighting for and with al-Qaeda. What’s that, you say? We are doing just that in Libya? Of course we are! But never mind. We’ve got to teach that Terry Jones a lesson.