But maybe you’re the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville that just can’t resist a public religious desecration. And so:
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration “could cause significant problems” for American troops overseas.
“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.
Arguments from authority, especially military authority, are unfortunate and generally undesirable. But if you’re the kind of person who’d be inclined to perform a two-minutes hate of a classically fascistic kind , perhaps the only hope for you is an appeal to jingoism. Is your hatred for one of the three Abrahamic faiths really so great that you want to endanger the troops?
Surely this congregation’s bigotry is a marginal phenomenon. But this summer has played host to a baseless demonization of a Muslim religious leader who has advocated more aggressively than most anyone for a reconciled American Islamic identity. And the strained critique of his efforts bears an uncomfortable similarity to the one on offer from al-Qaeda. Politicians may find it politically expedient to engage in a demagogic blend of collective blame; and I think it was Matthew Yglesias who observed that receptivity to such arguments is a social staple of economic downturns. (It’s all the Muslims’ fault!) But this is really playing with fire here.