A Day Before 9/11

A pastor in Florida wants to burn some Korans and the world is outraged. Which part of the above sentence is more surprising? Are you shocked that a Christian minister would want to be the #1 symbol of hate and intolerance in this country? Or, are you amazed that a man leading a congregation of less than fifty people, many of whom are his relatives, could cause an international frenzy? (I will not name him. I will not link to him or any story about him.)

This isn’t even the first time a Christian fringe group has publicly burned or threatened to burn the Koran. It won’t be the last.

I was sitting in my synagogue, surrounded by fellow Jews, observing the second day of Rosh Hashanah earlier today. I thought about this trouble-maker, this man so sure of his cause that only a sign from G-d could deter him. Would it matter if he was stopped? It is not possible to stop every Christian pastor out to display his hate for others or feed his need for attention.

And then I thought about the Kristallnacht.

November 9, 1938. Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass. The Storm Troopers attacked the Jews of Germany. 7500 businesses were destroyed. 177 synagogues were gutted. Torahs desecrated. 91 dead. There was no outrage. The world didn’t notice. The world didn’t take action.

There is no reason to burn the holy books of someone else’s religion. But, unless one of the TV cameramen bumps into a print reporter, no one will be hurt by this hateful protest.

So, maybe we have advanced as a society. If the mindless assault on ideas gets international attention, then maybe we can begin to eliminate the mindless assaults on people.

2 thoughts on “A Day Before 9/11

  1. I think the reason this incident got so much attention is all the history behind this man’s gesture, which I understand he reconsidered. The animosity between this “Christian” and the Muslims was an offshoot of still-bitter feelings about 9/11/01, when nearly 3,000 people were killed in one of the most memorable conflagrations in human history – or at least in the history that this generation can remember.

    Anybody who would attempt this act of emotional retaliation against the perceived enemy is comparable to the person lighting a match around an open container of gasoline. The act had the potential to infuriate the real enemy and bring more trouble to our entire country.

    An all of this happens against the backdrop of the Mosque controversy.

    The very sneakiness of the terrorists and the way they blended into our society, plotting their wickedness, makes it difficult for Americans to trust anybody with a Middle Eastern appearance. You just don’t know where the next terrorist might spring up.

    Our savior taught us to turn the other cheek against our enemies, but he also didn’t want us to be stupid about letting evil go unchecked. It’s one thing to be Christian and it’s a whole other thing to be a patsy.

    I believe there are many Jews who are still very angry about the Holocaust and they have every reason to have those feelings. But at least the Jews knew exactly who the enemy was. Americans only have a vague and uncertain idea.

  2. If only technology was what it is today at the time of the Kristallnacht, I like to think the humanness of mankind would never have permitted such atrocoties even though the “church” itself turned a blind eye. In my limited world of what is right before my very eyes I witnessed a flury of negative responses regarding this pastors hatefulness. Yes the media took hold as it was a best seller story for them in a relatively slow news week but the activies I saw within social media, the news media and the responses from public figures were of those that spoke out against his prejudices. They were intolerant of his hatefullness. His blanketed stereotypification of all that encompased the Muslim faith was not tolerated.These reactions gave me hope for humanness to rise again. Had only our technology been then what it is today, I believe, thousands upon thousands of innocent lives would not have perished.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *