Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Do Religious Nut Cases Deserve Global Attention?

So, an extremist pastor of a congregation of 50 is going to burn copies of the Koran on 9/11, what is the big deal? Why is he being interviewed? Why is this world-wide news? OK, profit-driven, audience-seeking, sensationalist-loving media know that this is a good way to arouse emotions, get viewers, and attract advertisers. OK, it is a bad, bigoted, foolish thing to do, but why give this fanatic a global audience with interviews, pictures, and repeated exposure day and night.

Do we not remember that in the early 1950's when the Revised Standard Version of the Bible was published, burning parties were held by fundamentalists  all around whose allegiance was to the REAL Bible, the King James Version, which transliterated the original term as  baptism instead of rendering its English meaning as immerse, to dip -- a clear instance of theological bias Baptists tolerated without protest.

A Duke professor who was on the translating committee called this Bible burning progress because in the old days they burned the translators! Holy Book burners, flag burners, bra burners, and the like are--like the poor--always with us. Such folks are generally a small minority whose historical and social influence is minimal.

So how should we deal with the Koran burners? Condemn them but give them no more press than is absolutely necessarily. Now if 10,000 churches and synagogues, the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, the President of the United States, and other such notables around the world should preside over mass burnings of the Koran,  then that is news, big news, bad news. But one pastor of half a hundred or less in Florida? Let's have some sense of proportion about all this.

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