Wednesday, September 08, 2010

When "They" Burn the Flag

I was going to say something about this Quaran burning ceremony held by a group of batshit-crazy Christian fundamentalists, but William Saletan at Slate beat me to it.

You know that feeling you get when you see folks in the streets, burning American flags in other countries? Yeah. I hope you're getting whatever catharsis you need with the bullshit going on in this country right now.

Because once everyone's done giving everyone else the finger, and all the yo' mama jokes have been said, the real problems we face will still exist.




patsbrother said...

Wait: what did you do with my brother?

My "there's-only-one-issue-when-it-comes-to-the-First-Amendment" brother? The brother who berated me for staying out of the New York mosque issue because I realized that while someone has First Amendment rights there is also the question of how one exercises those rights? Remember him?

Because if you really were my brother, you'd be saying this is a First Amendment issue and that there is absolutley no valid argument that someone shouldn't exercise that right as they see fit, and all those who say otherwise are monsters. MY brother would say this is NOT an issue about whether someone might offend someone else in the way they exercise their rights, but about whether WE follow the Constitution.


Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Do you even read the links I write about, or do you just read my words in a vaccum?

Burning religious icons you own on your own Southern property is absolutely Constitutionally protected speech. Hell, they're well within their rights to burn crosses if they own the crosses and own the land. That's the law.

But don't fuss at me for calling out why they're doing so. Way I figure, if you'd burn one religious icon, you'd burn another, if you know what I'm sayin.'

I'd also like to point out that burning the Quaran is equivalent to burning an American flag. Both incendiary actions are protected speech, but doing so is only used to provoke a reaction, intimidate a group of people or gain attention.

We shouldn't delude ourselves to believe there is any other purpose in such a childish stunt.

But I think many of the Americans silently supporting this church would go apeshit if any group anywhere burned a pile of 200 American flags. I think they lack the empathy to understand. They are looking for nothing more than catharsis for some percieved victimhood that does not exist.

It should also be noted that people with reasonable disagreements and rational behaviors don't do things like this.

That's the point of what I'm sayin'. Ain't me who's being intellectually inconsistent here.

patsbrother said...

Yes, it is.

DADvocate said...

I'm too cheap to buy a Quaran to burn. And, I have no desire to read it either. So, I guess I'll buy a six pack instead. (Doesn't Islam frown on drinking? If so, that'll be my protest.)

As they say in Kentucky, your ugly and yo' moma sends you to (University of) Louisville.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

+1 For any protest involving a six-pack.

Which reminds me, we DO have our anti-radical sharia day in this country, it is called St. Patrick's Day!

And Sprout: I am very sorry you cannot deterimine the difference between building churches and burning crosses. I thought you were smarter than that.

patsbrother said...

Uh, no. This is not a problem with me. A week ago, my brother was an absolutist. Today, there is a poseur pretending to be my brother, who recognizes some (gasp) non-absolutist position.

Had my brother acknowledged the non-absolutist world last week, and simply called the people who disagreed with him big doodee-heads, I might not have been able to recognize the switch to you, you as-yet-unidentified fraternal-posing friend.

Please don't keep him locked away long. I had a wonderful time this past weekend.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Let's see if I have this straight:

Last week, I said that a bunch of bigot, religion-hating, xenophobic, attention seeking demagouges were seeking to dismantle the First Amendment. They used the very same First Amendment rights they would deny others to make their case, as I used my First Amendment rights to criticize them.

This week, I say that a bunch of bigot, religion-hating, xenophobic, attention seeking demagouges are attempting to seek even more outrageous, inciteful attention in an effort to dismantle the First Amendment. They are using the very same First Amendment rights they would deny others to make their case, while I continue to use my First Amendment rights to criticize them.

Yes. Now that I put those together, it sounds completely inconsistent. Thanks for pointing that out.

No wonder you cannot determine the difference between building a synagouge and burning a flag.

patsbrother said...

You are using histrionics to mask two things:

(a) Before, you said there was no other consideration to be had than whether someone had a First Amendment right to do something, and if they did, then nothing one could possibly say about it. Now you are acknowledging what you lambasted me for last week, which is, essentially, there is a second issue regarding how other people will take it.

and (b) a church attempting to express itself by burning books is not trying to dismantle the First Amendment. You said that just to make your two positions sound congruent. Just as you have the right to criticize others, so do crazy churches, and that means both of you are exercising your First Amendment rights, not that you are attempting to "dismantle the First Amendment."

(If anything, only last week's absolutist "no one can complain about this" mantra could be seen as trying to dismantle the First Amendment. Thankfully, someone kidnapped my brother and replaced him with someone who's not that dense.)

Again, to make me sound like a fraking b-tard, you go petulantly on about how I can't recognize the difference between building a mosque and burning books. THE WHOLE DAMN POINT OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT IS THAT YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXERCISE YOUR RELIGION AND YOUR SPEECH REGARDLESS OF WHAT SOMEONE ELSE THINKS OF WHAT YOU'RE DOING. However, you apparently want different rules to apply depending on whether you agree with the person exercising them.

A great civil libertarian, you are.

In both cases (and all cases), people have chosen to exercise their constitutional rights to do an expressive act. Whenever you express yourself, there is this magical thing called other people, and those other people might approve or disapprove of the message you are expressing and, using their cosntitutional rights, express that approbation or disapproval.

You have claimed this right for yourself, but just a while back completely ignored its existence when someone else was using it.

Dante said...

"This week, I say that a bunch of bigot, religion-hating, xenophobic, attention seeking demagouges are attempting to seek even more outrageous, inciteful attention in an effort to dismantle the First Amendment."

They're not dismantling the First Amendment. On the contrary, they're using it exactly as it was intended. We just don't happen to agree with they're doing.

That being said, this guy is certifiable. He's a nut job. Have a looksee over at Drudge and see what they've dug up on him. There's no "a bunch" about this group unless you're very loose with the definition. He shouldn't be getting comments from everyone from the NYPD to the Vatican. He shouldn't be getting this level of media attention. He should be summarily ignored. Speaking of which, that's the last print I'm giving this guy. I no longer want to be part of the problem.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Sprout: Umm, no. Last week, I said that the folks who opposed the renovation of the Holy Burlington Coat Factory in Manhattan were perfectly within their rights to oppose the construction. I also stated my belief that they had no legitimate reason for doing so other than religious bigotry, xenophobia and demagougery.

I didn't challenge the right to advocate for the dismantling of the First Amendment, I said those who advocate such were wrong, and their reasoning was highly flawed. I also wondered why there were so many people unwilling to challenge the individuals whose openly stated policy is to intimidate, harass and legislate away anyone's First Amendment rights to freedom of religion. Especially when their demagougery is leading to actual crimes against individuals on religious grounds.

And don't think I haven't noticed that a "church" burning holy books as a way to get on television is being defended more robustly than groups of Muslims quietly attempting to renovate a building.

Try to keep up, kiddo.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Dante: they aren't dismantling the First Amendment as it pertains to themselves; but their actions are consistent with traditional means used to intimidate another group from free expression of a different religion. Or they are attempting to incite violence. Or they are just doing this to get on television.

While I allow that this is probably the religious equivalent of the "balloon boy" episode, I feel their actions must be addressed in the historical context relative to Southern people burning religious iconography for political and social goals.

And, yes, you are correct that "bunch" must be defined loosely: they only have 50 or so congregants. But they are recieving support from outside, and I'm sure there are plenty of folks quietly supporting their actions.

Hence the Saletan article I originally linked to: this group does not represent all Christians, Republicans and Americans any more than the 9/11 attackers represented all Muslims.

Behaviors of deranged individuals need not be applied to entire groups.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Hey, Sprout, you're in good company! Sarah Palin can't tell the difference between building churches and burning crosses, either.