Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book, as long as that document does not offend our own ideas of decency. That should be the only censorship.
How will we defeat communism unless we know what it is, and what it teaches, and why does it have such an appeal for men, why are so many people swearing allegiance to it? It is almost a religion, albeit one of the nether regions.
–From the remarks of the President of the United States at the Dartmouth College Commencement, June 14, 1953. Courtesy of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission
Not long after penning the last post, I came across an article about how a church in Florida was planning on burning copies of the Qur’an on September 11. The discordance between simultaneous cutting-edge technological advances in e-readers and a good ‘ol fashioned (and I do mean really ‘ol) book burning really struck me.
The written word is still an amazingly powerful thing, regardless of medium. Although I doubt that a mass deletion of electronic versions of the Qur’an would have the same symbolic affect as tangible combustion, the fear of foreign ideas is very much still with us.
And as (even) Eisenhower said, destroying ideas with which we do not agree accomplishes nothing, and in this case, could even provide confirmatory evidence for Islamic extremists whose very message is that the West is hell-bent on destroying Islam.
So I propose something else. On September 11, take 5 minutes to learn something about Islam or Islamic cultures of past or present. Read a surah from the Qur’an. Wondering why the Islamic cultural center near ground zero is called the Cordoba house? Find a neutral source and read up on the history of Islamic Spain. Already Muslim? Find another idea or system of beliefs that you are not familiar with and read about it.