What is the relationship between freedom of speech and religious sensitivities?   Can the former with impunity trample on the latter?

Consider the case of Pastor Terry Jones who burned the Koran in public.  He set off three days of rage in Afghanistan with 24 people already killed in the demonstrations.  His action has put civilians and even soldiers of the coalition at risk. Rev. Jones will suffer no consequences.  He was just exercising his freedom of expression.  In fact Jones could burn another Koran tomorrow and he would suffer no penalties.

Does that make sense?  Should one be able to burn a bible in a cathedral or desecrate the Koran in a mosque?

Free speech is not an absolute.

In the eyes of most Afghans and Muslims for that matter, the U.S. government should treat an insult to Islam in the same way Muslim governments treat it — as a crime.

The Afghan minister of education said:  “Our expectation of the government of the United States is that it should have prevented him, seized him, held him or put him in prison so that he didn’t do this action.”

This burning of the Koran has inflamed many Muslims against us threatening our national security.

Should it be allowed to continue”

Should burning the Koran be a crime?

What do you think?


  1. 1
    joe agnost Says:

    “Should burning the Koran be a crime?”


  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Why not?

  3. Under the U.S. constitution it comes under freedom of expression, under Canadian law depending on how it is presented or judged it could come under hate crime law.
    In both countries it comes under STUPIDITY, not a crime save against common sense. The pastor has a congregation of about 30 people according to news sources. The Taliban are giving them their moment of glory. But then between extremists one good turn deserves another, no?

  4. 4
    SUZANNE Says:

    Something as subjective as feelings should not be the guiding point of any laws against speech. What’s offensive to you may not be offensive to me, and vice-versa.

    It’s not our problem they don’t understand free speech.

    Sometimes the truth is offensive. We need to protect the right to offend. Not that I agree with Koran burning. But there have been times in the past when people showing the truth would have been jailed for being offensive. I was just watching a documentary on the Civil War last night. I’m sure a lot of southerners would have agreed with criminalizing speech about abolitionism and the equality of all.

  5. 5
    joe agnost Says:

    Why not Neil? Because we don’t need ~more~ laws. I see no reason to outlaw burning any book, and unless someone can produce ideas to justify ~another~ law I see no reason to enact one.

  6. 6

    Neil writes:

    Should one be able to burn a bible in a cathedral or desecrate the Koran in a mosque?

    Both cathedrals and mosques are private institutions and, as such, are free to make their own rules about what goes on within their respective walls. So this is moot when it comes to the consideration at hand.

    Burning a Koran in a non-private setting or in a private setting in which the burner is abiding by the rules of said private setting is alright by me.

    Anyone up for burning a Canadian flag?

  7. 7
    Neil McKenty Says:

    The only group that I can think of who would be interested in burning a Canadian flag would be the racists and bigots in the Tea Party.

  8. 8


    As opposed to the racists and bigots in the NDP and Liberal Party of Canada?

  9. 9
    jim Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a fatwa hasn’t been placed on the reverend’s head in secret.
    Being as it’s not against the law to burn the Koran, it is also not against the law to burn the U.S flag. Both come under the freedom of speech act.
    Methinks that this rev’s church is about to lose its congregation. After all, who wants to be around when the boys turn up with sticks of TNT tied around their torsos and who in a few minutes will be dropping their drawers in front of the 70 vestal virgins. Enjoy, boys.

  10. 10
    littlepatti Says:

    There’s no debate about the stupidity of Terry Jones. ( I question his credentials).
    However, the fact that it elicited such a violent outburst by so many people makes me wonder…
    I think that we are wasting our time over there. It’s hopeless. Really.

  11. 11

    I am a strong christian believer but what Pastor Terry Jones did leaves a lot to be applauded because there is no substance in his argument. Though there is such a rift between we Christians and the Muslims the best way of proving our beliefs is to exercise the teachings in our faiths such like love and peace promotion. These so called pastors are not genuine pastors with a calling from God since Jesus did not leave any chaos that provoked the peace of those who had been living with Him in His days so too is Muhammad (PBUH) but those with the genuine faith are known by their deeds. So, Pastor Terry Jones is not part of us, the spirit that sends him to those errands are from somewhere not from GOD.
    Please stop it

  12. 12

    Here’s an idea: send the Moron Jones to Libya, and let’s see him put on his act for the Lunatic Gadhaffi. Two birds with one stone, I think. Gadhaffi will solve the Jones problem, and right after that, the American Air Force will solve the Gadhaffi problem.

  13. 13
    Stéphanie P. Says:

    Je ne crois pas que cela devrait être vu comme un crime mais c’est certainement et indéniablement le geste d’une personne qui a beaucoup de difficulté à s’exprimer.

    Tout le monde à droit à son opinion, dans le respect. Ne sommes nous pas sensé être civiliser ?? N’avait-il aucun autre moyen d’exprimer son idée ? Le fait qu’il (Terry Jones) pose un geste comme celui-ci pour faire passer ces idées lui enlève beacoup de crédibilité.

    Il a quand même reçu toute l’attention désirer (bonne et mauvaise), ce qui à mes yeux était le motif.

  14. 14
    Sonny Jim Says:

    There’s no way burning a Koran should be a crime, not in this country anyway. People are allowed to burn Bibles, and even the US flag, and until those freedoms are taken away, we should be allowed to legally burn a Koran.

    My view is that if those people who committed acts of violence over burning a Koran, they were predisposed to violence to begin with. If it wasn’t Terry Jones that set them off, it would have been something else. And the lives of our troops are already at risk, just by them being in the Middle East. Muslim terrorists already threaten our national security.

    I’ll admit that Terry Jones acted like a child in burning another religion’s sacred text. But who acted more childish-Jones, or those who killed over the burning of an inanimate object?

    In the wake of what happened, I find it ironic that the same people in the Middle East who protested against burning a Koran, burned more Korans during the protest than Terry Jones ever could have.

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