Qur’an-fire of the Vanities

Qur’an-fire of the Vanities September 8, 2010

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah

Well, we’re approaching zero-hour on the  Qur’an-burning kerfluffle.  This whole situation is a prime example of what happens when the media gets ahold of a story and turns it into, well, a kerfluffle (a polite word for a major hoo-haw).  Here’s this tiny little church, whose name, Dove World Outreach Center, almost has more letters than the church has congregants, causing protests as far away as Kabul, Afghanistan and Malaysia.  Pastor Doofus has appeared on CNN and other news outlets, and generals and politicians have commented on his plans.

Who is this guy?  WHY are we allowing him to even have one minute of media exposure?  You know that guy, the guy downtown who digs in the dumpster and yells at traffic while brandishing a Gideon Bible he stole from a local motel while telling us all to repent before Armageddon arrives?  That guy?  Well, this guy is that guy,  just marginally better dressed.  And just like we would simply shake our heads and cross the street to avoid the Bible-thumping mentally ill street person, or if we are more empathetic perhaps refer him to a shelter and mental health counseling, we should give no more thought or attention to Pastor Doofus.  You see, I can’t even be bothered to go google his name.

We live in an age where it is ridiculously easy for anyone to have a say on any topic, for one person’s words to be flung across cyberspace in an instant, when one ignorant preacher can have more than his allotted fifteen minutes of fame.  Couple that with a 24-hour news cycle desperate for anything to fill the void when there are no major oil-spill / hurricane / earthquake / sex scandal stories to breathlessly report on, and you have the ingredients for an artificially generated tsunami of outrage that spreads out in waves across the world.  And these waves can have consequences as they slap ashore in Jakarta and Islamabad and Riyadh. (Don’t send cards and letters – I’m drawing a picture with words and not worrying if the aforementioned locations are actually coastal.)  If one person dies in a protest, if one soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq is killed by some ignorant Muslim in a froth of outrage over the desecration of the Qur’an, then I will hold Pastor Doofus responsible, but I will also hold responsible the news media that pumped up the volume and turned a local and rather pitiful protest into a headline topic.  What a waste of time.  Weren’t you all busy enough checking to see when Lindsay would get out of jail?

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