As you probably all know by now, a Florida pastor named Terry Jones had plans to burn copies of the Koran on September 11, 2010.
I don't like it when people defile a Bible, Qur'an, Book of Mormon, Bhagavad Gita or any other religious book. And that is why so many different religions like the LDS Church, Catholic, Evangelical, and Judaism are united in their opposition to Pastor Terry Jones' plan to burn Qu'rans on September 11, 2010. They don't like it either.
And there is a good reason for why they have joined forces in condemning the idea of burning Korans on 9/11. The consequences will be devastating for those religious freedom flourish around the world, especially in the middle east. The harm will last long into the future. Geoff Tunnicliffe, a prominent voice in the World Evangelical Alliance, explains the long term consequences of Pastor Terry Jones’ act:
“Here’s the reality: That video will never go away,” Tunnicliffe said. “It will be so detrimental to our work with religious liberty around the world. Everywhere I go around the world I will have to address this for years to come.”
The Pastor's actions will have negative consequences for all other religions even if they oppose the Pastor's plan to burn the Korans. Thanks to Terry Jones, the Middle East will be less inclined to allow other faiths to have the ability to operate in that region of the world. However, the Middle East, which is has little tolerance for other faiths, wants Islam to be respected around the world but will not allow other religions to be practiced in their midsts. What the Middle East refuses to recognize is that everyone wants the right to have their faith practiced at home or abroad. At some point, the Middle East will have to embrace the same task of balancing freedom of religion and speech. It will have to learn that a person has a right to be respectful as well as offensive towards other religions.
Don't get me wrong. I totally understand the feelings that Muslims feel when they hear that someone wants to burn the Koran to make a political or religious statement. I know how they feel because seeing a Book of Mormon dragged on the ground does not evoke positive emotions in me. Maybe its part of the reason why other Mormons like Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck are opposed to this Pastor's stupid idea of remembering 9/11.
There are some who think that what the Pastor is doing is contrary to the founding principles of the Republic. Those people are wrong. Freedom of religion and speech are both protected under the the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Neither Religion and speech are given more weight or protection than the other. One may consider that both of these freedoms have the honor of being listed first in the Constitution. In fact, they're listed together. Personally, I think they're inextricably linked together. You can't have freedom of religion with out speech and you can't have speech without freedom of religion.
Hence, there will always be tension between free speech and freedom of religion. However, that tension is what makes America so great. People have a right to speak their mind about any number of topics, especially religion. They have a right to be amazingly insensitive to a world religion that has approximately 1 billion followers.
Which is why the as much as the act of seeing a Book of Mormon thrown on the ground bothers me, the man has a right to do so. I think what the Pastor is doing is incredibly stupid. And, as stupid as the Pastor’s desire to burn the Korans maybe, it’s his right to do so.