As people who live in a pluralistic society that values diversity and freedom, I believe we must unite and denounce the burning of any holy book, regardless of what creed or religious tradition it may involve. I do think most of us agree that what the now-infamous Pastor Jones allowed to take place at his Florida church is downright offensive to the Muslim community in the United States and beyond. It is equally offensive to all people who seek to live in a world where there is true religious freedom and respect for all groups. The First Amendment must not continue to be used as an excuse allowing people to be offensive and hateful toward any group.
Several journalists in the international media have gone out of their way to report on the consequences of that burning, including the violent demonstrations and deaths that followed the news of that unfortunate and hateful act. But the last thing we need to do right now is to get distracted in a back-and-forth media "blame game" about who is ultimately responsible for the violence and those deaths in Afghanistan. Rather, this should be a time to ask real questions about the source of all violence and the hatred, which is obviously alive and well in so many human hearts on both sides of most issues.
Our modern world is evermore connected, not just because we have access to instant reports of what is happening on the other side of the world, but because we are now experiencing the real effects of globalization: that other side is closer and closer to home. For instance, when we talk about the horrible tsunami in Japan and the hazardous radiation in the aftermath of that catastrophe, the miners in Chile or the earthquake in Haiti, we are increasingly mindful of our own vulnerabilities and how small our world really is. This is happening more and more as we watch 24/7 news channels and see up-close what occurs in any corner of the planet in just moments.
The very unfortunate burning of the Quran has already occurred. Most of us are sorry for what happened and would like to see things like that never happen again. But now it is time for us to figure out how to implement the globalization of love and mutual respect. I am convinced we will all be better off when we put our efforts into burning and eliminating so much of the hate that exists in too many human hearts.
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