A man who preaches to fifty folk in some tin shack in the boondocks (it may not actually be tin but metaphorically it is) decides to have a backyard book-burning and this event- that deserves to be buried in the middle pages of the local newspaper- breaks out and becomes a sensation
I do not know why the Gainesville authorities did not shut him down before he became a cause célèbre. Shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater is not protected speech when you're the one with the matches setting fire to the drapes.
I like the way it's been handled. The temptation to clobber the guy with a nightstick must have been huge, but that's not how we do things in a democracy. I think the softly softly approach has been a huge, shining advertisment for the superiority of the American Way (and that's not something I often say or think).
For whatever reason (and the ones he gave are nebulous at best), he has now canceled the burning scheduled for Saturday. What an idiot hate monger.
Reports are, he's saying he "cut a deal" with the Ground Zero Mosque people, and that it would be moved if they called off the burning. Sounds suspect as hell, but we'll see how it plays out.
He sounds confused. He's been meeting with real-life Muslims- who seem to have treated him with kindly respect- and it's knocked him off balance.
2010-09-10 10:23 am (UTC)
A friend posted a little video the other day showing all the other businesses that are within the same distance of Ground Zero as the proposed Mosque (which in any case is not a full on Regent's Park job with minarets etc. but a room in a Muslim centre). There are strip clubs, gambling casinos, an Irish bar, a burger joint. No way are they defiling a sacred memorial by adding a mosque. Quite the opposite, in fact, they are raising the tone of the place a bit.
As for the kindly Muslims, well, they seem to have been following Christ's teachings rather better than Pastor Jones does, and that has had a healing effect, even on him.
The anger over the "mosque" is confected- and barely relates to the realities of the situation.
Pastor Jones has "issues" I think. He's a dim-bulb, conflicted individual who has found that he's plunged in way over his head. As events unfold I'm beginning to feel a little sorry for him.
Yes, I've been following the news but now he's saying he may still hold the burning. He is such an idiot and as I said, a dangerous one. And he's loving all the media attention.
All this time I have had one question in my mind: WHY did the media give this insignificant little worm so much air time and ink?
Are the media TRYING to arouse fanatics to acts of extreme violence just so that they will have yet more "news" to peddle?
The Media don't have much a conscience. Reporters are under pressure to come up with stories- and this one caught someone's fancy. Once a story- no matter how trivial- has become "news" there's a Gadarene rush and no media outlet dare ignore it.
Rumour I've heard is a good one -- that he was all set to proceed, right up until his local sherrif's deartment let him know that they were all taking September the 11th off, and none of them would be on hand to stop his bid for getting himself and his paritioners killed.
If that's true the Gainesville police department deserves a special award for cunning.
I didn't enjoy it, it filled me with despair. Ghandi was right about liking the Christian God but having no time for his followers. What kind of Old Testament avenger does Jones worship? WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Where's the love? Where's the compassion?
I always thought that the text "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay" was a message to his followers to leave the eye-for-an-eye stuff alone and that God would work his purpose out, without any help from misdirected American nutjobs, thank you very much.
2010-09-10 09:51 am (UTC)
Re: By their fruits shall ye know them.
We live by stories and this is a "good" story. I feel energised by it, stirred up, stimulated. I enjoy a good bout of righteous indignation.
The kind of religion that Jones espouses has very little to do with the Jesus of the beatitudes, rather more to do with the Jesus who preached apocalypse and the separation of the sheep and the goats. The New Testament contains a Jesus to suit every temperament.
Well - yes - but it is not up to us to decide which are the sheep and which are the goats - Jesus is talking about what God will decide at the Last Judgement. However I have difficulty with the overthrowing of the moneylenders' tables, that was not a very beatitudinal act.
2010-09-10 10:47 am (UTC)
Re: By their fruits shall ye know them.
The character of Jesus is a mystery- full of contradictions. Personally, I think he's a fictional construct. I've read that almost everything he is supposed to have said can be sourced in the rabbinical literature of the time.
The whole story - as I heard it - seemed so absurd that what I ended up hearing on the radio every time it came on was "Koran-burning pasta", which seems suitably Pythonesque.
The real world is often stranger- and sillier- than fiction