Here in the land of the free we often have to put up with a lot of people who don’t use their brains for anything more constructive than keeping their ears a set distance apart. A disturbing number of these people claim to be clergy, which suggests to me that God has a stranger sense of humor than most people think.
The latest nitwit to test the outer limits of what Americans are allowed to do (as opposed to what they really ought to have the brains not to do – a crucial if often overlooked distinction) is a guy in Florida who has managed to create an international incident out of his own stupidity. For those of you hiding under rocks this week who have managed not to hear this story, well, you’ve missed a humdinger.
This guy claims to be a Christian minister, though I have not had the patience to figure out the specifics of how, precisely, he blasphemes my faith. Such people abound in this country, particularly (though not exclusively) in the South for some reason. Maybe the harsh northern winters thin them out a bit up here, I don’t know. Regardless, this guy has decided that the proper way to express his hateful ignorance toward a billion or so of God’s fellow children is to burn their holiest book. Because clearly that’s what Jesus would do. It’s right there in the beatitudes – “blessed are the hatemongers, for they shall reap what they sow.”
Wait, that’s not in the Bible? Well, I’ll be.
Now, maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t think this plan is going to help anything.
At first I wondered if he were an agent of the same radicals who set up 9/11 and want to have more of them, since a better recruiting tool for their cause could not be devised by teams of experts. Just because someone is evil doesn’t mean that they can’t be clever too – life is not like the movies where the good guys are smarter just because they’re the good guys. So I was willing to entertain the notion that this guy was an agent provocateur the likes of which we have not seen in quite some time.
But then I got a look at the guy and listened to some of what he was saying, and I thought, “Nobody's that good at disguises.”
He clearly fits into our own homegrown mold of idiots. Sorry, folks. This one’s ours.
This country has a long and inglorious history of self-appointed zealots who make it their mission to make a hell of this world in order to promote their vision of the next. Putting up with these clowns is the price we pay for the freedoms we enjoy.
But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. It doesn’t mean I have to respect it. And it certainly doesn’t mean I have to sit still and let wastes of space like that define what my country and my faith should stand for.
He and the horse he rode in on are hereby cordially invited to find other things with which to occupy their time.