Yesterday afternoon, as I played basketball in the driveway with my son and daughter, an argument arose over who hit the ball out of bounds. My feisty 10-year-old daughter tried to settle the argument by launching the ball at the back of her 12-year-old brother's head. That made him so angry, he took the ball and kicked it into the woods. Game over.
Children have to be taught to settle disputes and express their opinions respectfully. Unfortunately, it's a lesson some adults never seem to have learned.
Take, for example, Terry Jones, the pistol-packing Florida pastor who threatened to burn a Quran on 9/11 last year. Well, a little over a week ago, he" you guessed it. He burned a Quran.
If you recall, Jones didn't go through with it last year because there was such an outcry from nearly everyone--President Obama, Secretary of Defense Gates, politicians from both sides of the aisle, celebrities, religious leaders, regular folk and pretty much anyone with a lick of common sense--that burning a Quran, and offending one and a half billion people, wasn't a good or sane idea.
But it may have been General David Petraeus whose argument was the most convincing--at least for me. When I spoke with him last year, he boiled it down to a simple matter of life and death. General Petraeus said that there was nothing brave about burning the Quran over here while our soldiers pay the consequences over there--in Afghanistan, Iraq and now, Libya.
When I interviewed Jones last year, I did my level best to hear him out. But all I could think of was how I would feel, as a Christian, if somebody desecrated my most sacred book, the Bible. His only defense was to say that the Quran wasn't sacred to him.
The leader of the Dove World Outreach Center--the irony in the name shouldn't be lost on anyone--began this year's campaign of hate with a new angle. Instead of a simple book burning, Jones decided to first put the holy book of Islam on "trial." He dubbed it, "International Judge the Quran Day." The thinking must have been that if the book were "guilty," then it deserved to get burned.
About 30 people attended, 12 of whom formed the "jury." For good measure, the mock trial featured a prosecuting attorney and defense lawyer. However, in case you have any doubts, it was Jones who was not only the "judge" in this kangaroo court but also the jury and executioner. I think you can guess the verdict. With the outcome certain, it's a wonder Jones had it go on for over 6 hours. After soaking a Quran in kerosene for an hour, Jones led the torching of the book.