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Bigotry in Florida (Revisited)

September 11, 2010

I first picked up on Pastor Jones and his bigoted rantings back in July. I’m not surprised at the resultant furore, though I suspect that the Pastor himself is surprised. Living in his bubble of righteousness in Gainesville, Florida with his 50-strong flock (now apprently reduced to 30), the Pastor has triggered a firestorm byend his worst nightmare. I can only think that the guy is not only bigoted but also stupid. And now I suspect that he is seriously frightened. If you could have chosen an anniversary on which to burn the Quran, you couldn’t have done better than go for September 11, the date when America’s vulnerability to terrorist attack was most painfully illustrated. Did Pastor Jones not consider that he was stirring up a hornet’s nest that would have a strong chance of stinging him?

So now we have the usual rent-a-mobs in Afghanistan and Pakistan urging “Death to America”, and even Arab newpapers such as the Arab News in Saudi Arabia, normally a beacon for moderation, referring to the Pastor’s plan as satanic. It’s a telling reflection of the reality that if you pick the right subject and choose the right media (such as Facebook) for your cause, you will gain instant fame and set alight the world in a way that never would have been possible before the coming of the internet.

Unfortunately for the Pastor, I suspect that he will be living in fear for the rest of his life – perhaps he had never heard of Salman Rushdie – and the defection of his flock suggests that the apostates of the Church of the Dove want no part of sleeping every night with a pistol under the pillow.

Just as Benjamin Franklin in 1752 became a human lightning conductor, so Terry Jones has  made himself the target of every militant Islamist wishing to inflict divinely sanctioned punishment on a perceived enemy of Islam. And sadly, his dwindling flock is unlikely to be able to protect him from that threat. His bubble has burst. God help him.

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