Wyrd Designs – Just Say No To Libricide

Wyrd Designs – Just Say No To Libricide September 9, 2010

I’m sure by now many of you have heard of the Christian pastor, Terry Jones, of a small Florida church who plans and is encouraging people to burn copies of the Quran, Islam’s holy text, on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on the United States.

In the scheme of history, it is always the small-minded who burn books. It has not yet been a hundred years since the famous Berlin book burning of 1933, when Hitler’s trusted Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels encouraged the students of German Universities to burn ‘unGerman’ texts. Among the fuel for the fire were works by Freud, Einstein, Helen Keller, Hemingway, H. G. Wells, and over 18,000 more books. Ironically among the books burned were works from the early 19th Century German writer Heinrich Heine who had written over a hundred years before the Nazi’s  sad biblioclasms that “where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too.”

Heine’s words were sadly prophetic… for after the books were burned the Nazi’s would later go about executing by some estimates more than 15 million people in a twelve year period. The Nazi party didn’t just target those of Jewish ancestry, but also the gypsies, homosexuals, communists, certain other ethnic minorities, the mentally handicapped, the physically disabled, Christian ministers who refused to preach the Nazi party line,  and even those who worshipped pagan Gods, like Odin. Yes ladies and gentleman, even though the Nazi’s borrowed much of their symbolism from the pre-Christian religion of Germany that worshipped Odin… Odinists endured many of the same biased laws against them the Jews also dealt with, and some Odinists were indeed sent to concentration camps including Dachau.

When radical terrorists struck against the United States on 9-11, they killed Americans of various races, genders, sexual preferences and creeds. Those extremists, who acted with such hate that day, killed Muslims as well in those attacks. The hate those extremists showcased in such infamy, Mr. Jones has continued to showcase as well as he labels all Muslims the Devil’s lot. Unlike the extremists on 9-11 he just hasn’t actively killed anyone yet. But the danger that comes in such small-minded, hate-mongering people is even if they don’t do the killing themselves, they incite others (in)directly sooner or later to do it for them. U.S. Army General Petraeus is worried about just that. Mr. Jones’ Quran book burning may cost the lives of American service men and women who are putting their lives on the line against some of those extremists while defending the American life Mr. Jones is enjoying.

Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, this is something we should all be peacefully protesting against. Whenever books burn, wisdom falls and fear reigns supreme. While the historical cultures that comprise the Northern Tradition were oral in nature, those who explore along these pathways know all too well how much of that history is missing. We have many deities who all we have is their name and we know nothing else of them. We know so little because of the destruction our temples and holy shrines. We may not have had holy texts to destroy… butthe destruction of a book, or a temple is to my mind synonymous.

Because of book burnings we have lost sacred Mayan writings, Luzzatto’s kabbalistic writings, countless early Christian texts were destroyed in a series of systematic purges by numerous ‘church’ authorities. Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered in the third century BC the burning of various philosophical texts as well as the murder of various scholars. Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 3rd Century CE ordered the burning of certain Egyptian alchemical texts. In the seventeenth century there was even a big libricide a flambé at Oxford University. History is unfortunately full of such stories, and because of such outright petty destruction in attempts to control thought and expression so much beauty has been lost. Strength comes through open discourse, not in fear-fueled, hate-driven acts of such blatant disrespect.

I shall leave you with a thought, the inscription over the Library at Thebes translated roughly to: “The medicine chest for the soul”. So just what do we lose when we let a book burn?

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  • I will be the first to say that burning books isn’t a good idea, but what I fail to see anyone asking is why this Pastor has resorted to book burning. I have begun to wonder if it is a thing of last resort. As for the whole “Islam is of the Devil” thing, I figure that isn’t so much hate as traditional Christian belief. Islam holds the same for Christianity. It’s just the nature of the monotheists.

    I’m sure there will be burnings and killings because of this. Yet, as a historian, I can say that this has always been the way of things and will be the way of things. There is a reason we Heathens and Pagans have Gods and Goddesses of War.

    Only history will judge if this man has wrought good or ill. I don’t think it is our place to comment or condemn the actions of this man, especially as he is just one more pawn of the Abrahamic god’s quest for supreme power. Condemn the book burning, yes, but I would also recommend admiring this man’s courage as well, for right or wrong, he is standing against impressive odds for what he believes. As much as Tolerance is to be admired, so too is Conviction. If more Heathens and Pagans showed that kind of Conviction, we would all be better off. There is more to be learned from this man than simply what not to do, I think.

    I have written some more of my thoughts here, if anyone would care to read and comment:


  • Pastor Jones has made his point, and others he did not intend to make. Militant, religious fanaticism does not recognize human rights and freedoms. It does not recognize the right of a person to burn one book, to worship anything other than one religion or to tolerate the beliefs of others. It recognizes the supremacy of dogma, and the grip it has on billions of humans. It’s the dogma of fear, and the holiness of books and cities that continue to enslave the minds of so many. The fear of death, torture and punishment is the carrot dangled before us in the race to oblivion. It’s all utter, hateful nonsense.

  • Laura Patsouris

    The problem inherent when monotheists of whatever stripe exalt a magical and infallible book…they feel perfectly justified in trampling down humans who have a different worldview or a different magical, infallible book. I agree that noone should be burning anyone else’s book…it would just be nice if we, as humans, could recognize that *no* book should be counted worthier than a human life. Now in FL, what we have is one fanatical wingnut obsessed with his magical book yelling about the threat that radicals with a different book pose to us all…ironic, no?

  • @Norse Alchemist: “Conviction,” my ass. This man is no one to be admired. He’s a lousy example of a Christian. Yeah, I went there.

    It takes no courage at all to lead an angry mob — which is what some of the people in this country are starting to resemble, more and more. It takes a great deal of courage to face down an angry mob, however, and if this pastor really had any guts, he’d be preaching Christ’s message of love and forgiveness rather than calling for an act which is not only hateful, but reminiscent of one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century, and completely contrary to the freedom of religion (ALL religions, not just shades of Christian belief) that this country stands for.

    In the end, though, I don’t care who does it or why they’re doing it. The burning of books has no place in a civilized nation. Period.

  • Huntress

    Update: CNN is reporting that Pastor Jones has decided to cancel the book burning.



  • Elizabeth, no where did I say this man was a good Christian. Perhaps it isn’t courage to lead an angry mob, but last time i checked 50 people vs 1 billion didn’t strike me as good odds. That is the courage and conviction I spoke of, if aided by a hint of madness. I didn’t say the man was right, merely that I admired his guts.

    Huntress, word is, the burning might be back on. There’s multiple stories going out and I doubt we’ll ever realize the truth of the matter. We will only see the results.