What happens when Everyguy Icon Bill O’Reilly pushes the calamitous absurdity that Pastor Terry Jones “has blood on his hands,” and Hezbollah puts a $2.4 million bounty on Jones’ head?
We don’t know.
We do know the epic scale of invective hurled at Jones the world over has helped turn this American citizen who has broken no law but Islam’s into a moving target. But it has also objectified a human being. When Jones is gratuitously disparaged as a “kook,” a “nut,” an “insane Christian” (as O’Reilly said), and much, much worse for his (perfectly logical) symbolic act of putting on trial and burning a copy of a book that codifies conquest and enslavement, supremacism and bigotry, Jones is making a statement. Just as Fitna made a statement. Just as the Pope’s Regensberg Address made a statement. Just as the publication — and particularly the re-publication — of the Danish Motoons made a statement. These statements vary but none of them violate legal, peaceful means of expression. None of them caused the murder and mayhem many Muslims engaged in in illegal and violent and Islamically sanctioned reaction. Geert Wilders is no more responsible for the murders of two Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan following the release of Fitna than the Pope is responsible for the murder of an elderly nun in Somalia following his Regensberg Address than Pastor Jones is responsible for the murders of UN personnel and others in Afghanistan following his Koran-burning act — heretofore unnoticed, by the way, until Hamid Karzai publicly denounced it and called for Jones’ arrest. (It would be most interesting to know the hidden chain of events that drew Karzai into this.)
But just as the nature of the Islamic world is revealed by its reaction to these peaceful if robust critiques, so, too, is the nature of the Western world revealed. It is an ugly thing. Like Pavlovic robots, our dhimmified, mentally besieged peoples rush to protect Islam, to ward off “disrespect” of its chief symbol — its “holy” book — like primitives engaging in a communal fetish. In so doing, they desert our un-Islamic, indeed, anti-Islamic freedoms, leaving them unguarded and devalued. In the case of Jones, a rural preacher with a big mustache, they isolate and dehumanize a man at the margins of the public square they dominate. Our elites, our leaders, society at large have thus marked Jones for discard with the 21st-century equivalent of a scarlet letter “A” (apostasy against sharia). Such objectified contempt, as history shows us, is a perilous state of being
But note: Just as society objectifies Jones the living, breathing human being, society endows the book, the thing, the object he burned in protest with a spirit, rights, even a sensitive nature that demands the utmost consideration and respect of all.
Culture Check 2011: Jones the Man is spurned and objectified. The Koran the Thing is elevated, anthropomorpized, made … incarnate.
We are way into the danger zone.