The minister has every right to burn the Quran – the First Amendment guarantees that option. If you live in this great country, then this is something that must be accepted. And, there are those who may believe they should have the right to burn the New Testament or the United States flag.
If Free Speech is to mean anything, it is to acknowledge that actions that make us cringe and shrink and recoil in horror are protected by our First Amendment. Do I like the fact that someone may choose to burn, trample, or mutilate our American flag? Absolutely not, but the United States Supreme Court has consistently supported unpopular expressions of free speech – primarily the burning of the American flag.
Just recently I purchased a new American flag for my front porch. It had creases and wrinkles, so I laid the Flag on my dining room carpet and gently straightened out its folds. As I walked around my dining room, I refused to step on the Flag or even come close to it – even though it meant walking extra steps around it. To me, it was a sign of disrespect to even come close to touching the Flag. And, tomorrow, it will fly – proudly, I might add – on my front porch.
I have several Bibles – although I know those of you who consider me a Godless Liberal may find this strange. I will never set anything on top of one of my Bibles. In my home, you do not place one paper, one book, one object on top of a Bible. I have a precious 155-year-old family Bible, and it is almost untouchable. It is fragile beyond compare.
But, there are those who would disrespect the Flag, and there are those who would disrespect the Bible, and there are those who would disrespect the holiness of other cultural publications such as the Quran. Our objective should be to guide and instruct our citizens in the acceptance of new cultures. But, perhaps, what is more important than anything else is to understand that we are an open society – no matter how painful – no matter how despicable.
And, we must accept the unjust and the unthinkable in order to keep the openness of our culture and to pass it on to our loved ones. Let the minister burn the Quran – it only strengthens this country and its ideals.