F. Scott Fitzgerald said that the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in the mind simultaneously was a mark of genius.
If that were true, the U.S. government must be full of geniuses. Consider: it was just a week or two ago that everyone from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., sort of, SC) to Gen. David Petraeus and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton loudly condemned the Rev. Terry Jones for presiding over his Koran barbecue. Burning a holy book, you see, was hateful, intolerant, and extremely disrespectful.
That’s how General Petraeus put it: “hateful, intolerant, extremely disrespectful.”
For his part, Sen. Lindsey wondered aloud on Face the Nation about how the government could “push back” against individuals who did such things. “Free speech is a great idea,” he said, “but we’re in a war.” Ann Barnhardt did for Lindsey Graham what Apollo did for Marsyas, and I hope that who ever runs against him in 2014 plays his statement and Ms. Barnhardt’s video again and again and again.
But back to the question of genius. The U.S. government under Barack Obama is deeply committed to battling any belittlement, criticism, or questioning of Islam. (“I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States,” he said, “to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”)
At the same time, however, it is OK, in the Obama regime [SEE BELOW FOR AN UPDATE], for the U.S. government to burn Bibles. Yes, that’s right. Bibles were sent to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. But the U.S. government determined that the presence of Bibles in this “devoutly Muslim country” might inflame the natives. So they burned them. Why did they burn them? Because it is military policy to burn its trash.
So, the Bibles, according to U.S. policy, are trash, garbage, and it’s OK to burn them.
When it comes to the Koran, however, an official Department of Defense memo specifies a rather different procedure. Item 4, “Handling”:
1. Clean gloves will be put on in full view of the detainees prior to handling.
2. Two hands will be used at all times when handling the Koran in manner signaling respect and reverence. Care should be used so that the right hand is the primary one used to manipulate any part of the Koran due to the cultural association with the left hand. Handle the Koran as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art.
Isn’t that nice? Handle it “as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art.” But burn the Bible because it is just part of your trash.