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.