The Bible Is Now Trash; The Koran Is Still Sacred, Though

by Joe Hargrave

I was going to say something about the Koran burning scheduled to take place on 9/11. When I first heard about it, I had the same reaction many Americans did: this is a reckless provocation. It is heartless and insensitive in a religiously plural republic. Someone should try to talk some sense in to the pastor. And while I still believe all of those things, I have to say that given what I read this morning, I’m really having a hard time being enthusiastic about it.

What I’m referring to is a story reported by CNN of a Bible barbecue in Afghanistan, carried out by our own military. A U.S. soldier somehow “received”  – the article doesn’t specify if he requested them or if they were simply sent – a batch of Bibles printed in two Afghan languages. Meanwhile an Al Jazeera video showed television clips of U.S. soldiers praying, and inferred with no evidence that they were being told to “spread Christianity.” This false perception, combined with the presence of the Afghan Bibles, led to a decision to first confiscate, and then to burn the Bibles sent to the soldier, in order to avoid stirring up the locals and encouraging more attacks.

Why didn’t they simply send them back? Because of the sound reasoning that the church that sent them could merely send them to another place in Afghanistan, as if they couldn’t somehow print more if they really wanted to. Well, that, and this: “Troops at posts in war zones are required to burn their trash, [Lt. Col.] Wright said.”

And so there we have it. The Bibles were not seen as sacred holy books that could only be desecrated with the most severe consequences, but as inconvenient rubbish to be burned and disposed of. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that I dismiss the legitimate security concerns associated with the decision to prevent the Bibles from being distributed. But to leap from a legitimate security concern to the designation of our sacred scriptures as “trash” is a leap too far. It is outrageous.

I also want to be clear that I don’t have a problem with Christian tolerance of other faiths. But in our society, Christianity has grown so weak and toothless, while secular arrogance has grown so bold, that no one expects Christians to do anything when their religion is violated. Of course I imagine that any number of churches, Protestant, Orthodox, or Catholic would have gladly taken the Bibles rather than seeing them burned. But now that they are burned, no one cares. There will be no protests, there will be no media coverage, there will be no action, because no one is disturbed enough to take it. Since I sit around and write about stuff all day, this is my meager and insignificant protest.

And no, morons: I do not believe Christians should or need to become the equivalents of Muslim terrorists in order to stand up for their faith. Between nothing and suicide bombings, however, we ought to be able to take actions that are reasonable and relevant in defense of our faith.

On a final note, the military has also been strongly condemning the upcoming Koran burning. Again, I understand the reasons for doing so. I don’t think it is a good idea either, not because I believe the Koran is actually a holy book, but because – in keeping with my perspective on the ground-zero mosque – I think friendship between non-psychopathic Muslims and Westerners is a good idea. But to see the military so strongly condemn the burning of a Koran while designating the Bible as mere trash, I have to say, disturbs my soul, all pragmatic arguments aside.

And in the final analysis, if all we have is pragmatism, if the moral and spiritual foundation and life-force of our civilization contained in that truly holy book is also in the ash heap, then I have to wonder what it is the military is defending in the first place.

“And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Matthew 10:28] Now there is a statement of priorities.

[UPDATE: The Koran burning has been canceled as of now; Terry Jones will be meeting with Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida to discuss the possibility of moving the ground-zero mosque. I want to take a moment to point out, first, the double-standard to which Christians and Muslims are held and why they are held to it. Everyone who insisted that “sensitivities” were completely invalid reasons to oppose the GZ mosque, and repeatedly shouted about rights, rights rights, performed a 180-degree turn on the Koran burning issue.

And though I don’t doubt for a second that plenty a mush-headed liberal really has a bias for Islam and a hatred of Christianity, the main reason for the double standard was the simple reality that a significant number of Muslims threatened to mass murder Americans around the world in retaliation, while the majority of Americans only indicated that a GZ mosque would offend them – oh, and there were a few acts of vandalism and one highly dubious physical assault.

More than we ought to be disturbed with Terry Jones, who may have done us all a favor in the end, we ought to be disturbed with threats of violence against innocent people. And we ought not change ourselves, or our society, to accommodate the demands of criminals, murderers, and terrorists. I fear it that it was fear – not genuine compassion, not genuine concern – but fear of dealing with difficult problems and possibly suffering for values we claim to cherish, that was behind the impassioned opposition to pastor Jones. And I don’t see anything good about that.]

30 Responses to The Bible Is Now Trash; The Koran Is Still Sacred, Though

  1. Joe Hargrave says:

    I also find it fascinating that, by this logic, the Muslims of Afghanistan would be more willing to kill and be killed over conversion attempts than they are simply because they are being harassed and killed by coalition forces on a daily basis. “Invade my country, and yes, I will be mad and try to kill you – but undermine my religion, and then you’ll REALLY have some trouble!”

    Aren’t we just so mature and wonderful that we don’t get upset over such things? We’d probably be more likely to kill someone tampering with internet pornography.

  2. mundabor says:

    The military is utterly wrong.

    They are trying to impose the principle that those living in free countries should behave according to the wishes of those living in the muslim third world.

    This is the exact contrary of what they are in Afghanistan for. This is wanting to lose the battle of values whilst you win the military confrontation.

    Someone please explain Petraeus & Co. that the security of the military is not the guiding value of Western democracies, freedom is.


  3. GodsGadfly says:

    Yet burning a Bible is the proper way to dispose of it

  4. Joe Hargrave says:

    Ok… assuming that’s true, they were thrown in the trash first, and then burned as disposable trash. That can’t be proper at all.

  5. Joe Hargrave says:

    Here’s what Jimmy Akin says:

    “The key thing is not the physical manner of disposing of these objects but the fact that one is doing so with a right heart. If one “reverently throws away” something then his heart is displaying reverence, which is the important thing. What physical act is used to express this reverence is not what is at issue–be it burning or burial or even if there is no outward act but simply a grateful recognition of the role God has allowed the object to play in one’s religious life.”

    Somehow, “burn that garbage, soldier” doesn’t seem very reverent.

  6. Heather Price says:

    “Between nothing and suicide bombings,” Yeah, there’s a lot of space in there for reasonable behavior.

    I’ll start with prayer, myself.

  7. Joe Hargrave says:

    Also, its not as if the Bibles could not be used at all. Surely there are Christian Afgahns somewhere in the world.

  8. Teresa says:

    For some reason I just don’t see the big deal or the cause for all the upraor over and controversy over burning Korans. I can understand people’s beliefs on both sides of the aisle on this issue and respect those opinions. I do think that this pastor and his church members have a right to express their free speech rights but I also see the burning of Korans as imprudent since it may cause grave harm to our troops who are serving overseas.

    But I also thought to myself, wouldn’t radicals or Muslim extremists try to find or use any excuse to kill our troops?

    I am outraged over the military labeling Bibles as “trash” and burning them. This is higly unacceptable! This type of incident only makes me feel more sympathetic to the pastor who wants to burn the Korans. Did you hear that he and others are not allowed to express their first amendment rights? The nearest Islamic Center complained to the fire department and now the fire dept. is going to be there to put out the flames as soon as they start.

    Would the fire department be there if this was a flag burning or if Muslims here were burning Bibles as our military did at their behest in Afghanistan?

    “I also want to be clear that I don’t have a problem with Christian tolerance of other faiths. But in our society, Christianity has grown so weak and toothless, while secular arrogance has grown so bold, that no one expects Christians to do anything when their religion is violated.”

    I am in full agreement with you.

  9. Tito Edwards says:

    Why is the White House up in arms on the Koran building stating it’s their legal right but are contemplating to go as far as contacting this cult leader to dissuade him from burning these books.

    But with the uproar on the Ground Zero Mosque they want to preach platitudes of tolerance and yet do nothing to reach to this radical Imam, whom they financed a luxurious “PR inter-faith” campaign?

    Double standard, yes.

    As for Jimmy Akin, if he truly thought they were burning the Bibles with true intent, then he obviously didn’t have all the facts.

  10. Tito:

    Judging by the link, Akin was talking about burning things in general. Since the post is from 2007, I’d say we don’t have his opinion on this particular instance yet. I have a hard time thinking it was done with reverence for its sacred nature.

  11. Tito Edwards says:


    Thanks for doing the research.


    You are mischievous!

  12. Joe Hargrave says:

    Yes, I’m sorry if I gave the impression that that was Akin’s view on this incident. I was replying to Gadfly, and looking for some reference. Akin says there is no canon law or official teaching on the proper disposal of sacred things. I posted his summary.

  13. Tito Edwards says:


    Humility makes us grow stronger brother!

  14. American Knight says:

    First, I am pretty sure we are not permitted to do ‘nothing’ to defend the faith. I also am very sure we are not allowed to commit suicide, unless it is in the act of laying our lives down for our friends and our Lord. What is in between? How about some severe intolerance for sheer stupidity?

    Why would anyone want to burn a Koran? First, it is not a holy book. Second, it is the manual of the enemy, we are better off reading it than discarding it. Additionally, we know it will be used as a stick to beat Christianity and the West with, and the Jews for good measure – you know those pesky Christians’ Prophet was a Jew.

    Not provoking Moslems is the dumbest reason to NOT do it. We don’t have to do anything to provoke Moslems. Moslems are perpetually provoked. Until the whole world is Islam, and not just Islam, but a particular kind of Islam (these fools have been struggling with the Protestant heresy from the moment their cult-leader died. Oh, and he stayed dead. If Mohammad is God’s only messenger, then why is he still dead? Think about it.)

    The solution is pretty simple. First, we pray. Then we restore our laws to ensure that they are based on God’s Law and pay Him public homage, prayer, thanksgiving and worship. Then the whole country prays for victory and we bless our troops and send them to the Middle-East to contain the Moslems. Why contain? Because after, nearly a millennium and a half, that part of the world is ruined. We take the oil, extract the Christians, wall off the Holy Land and watch them die slowly under the weight of Moslem-socialism. In the meantime we can periodically send them Bibles, which they’ll probably burn, because Moslems don’t convert. If they won’t come to Christ, we should help them get to where they have chosen to go – following their prophet and his evil ideology.

  15. David Bazan says:

    While I am not in favor of any books being burned I do sympathize with the pastor’s frustration about the 9/11 tragedy. On that day we all would have liked to bash in someones head for what was done. Many lives were lost and families were put through horrific tragedy.

    It should be taken into account that many muslims, not all, have only one agenda, and that is to make Islam the world religion and rid themselves of all Christians, whatever denomination.

    As for our troops being in danger over this, let’s be clear, they were in danger the minute they stepped on the ground. This country puts our troops in danger by entering countries with the belief that by showing goodness and fairness to everyone, that it will make a difference and have them believe in democracy. Get real! Those countries are run not by politicians, but by their imams; and they wield much power in the background. Their political system is their religion. They have no belief in separation of church and state.

    If the pastor’s actions are looked upon as the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, then everyone should take a step back and see that the muslims and their splinter groups, have been looking for anything to call all muslims to a religious war…a type of war that this country, in my opinion, is not able to handle due to appeasing anyone with any semblance of group belief, whether bad or good, for our society. Thus the chord of unity is very weakened by all the loose threads which are not together.

    The news media is the “point of the needle to burst the boil” which is festering within Islam. The media believes that all things need to be reported to fill in time on the news or space in a newspaper or magazine. They should monitor themselves closely by looking ahead to what the consequences are of their reporting. Surely the pastor did not have in mind to go global with this and if he did, then shame on him.

    Christians are very much made to be the villains in all this, while the “poor” muslims are the ones suffering. Christians are ostracized, discriminated against, expelled (Morroco), tortured,imprisoned, and killed, in these “modern” times. Who is there to protect them?

    Again, GET REAL, muslims use this country’s laws and overall kindness and goodness to get to their main goal.

    Don’t let the media work for Islam’s goal to make it the only religion on this earth.

  16. Gail F says:

    This “minister” is a wacko with 50 people in his church. His burning of Korans — and no, I don’t think anyone should do that, because it is a stupid and nasty thing to do — has nothing to do (as some have tried to paint it) with a general ill-feeling toward Muslims in this country. If there IS a general ill-feeling toward Muslims, as opposed to small groups opposing them, it has more to do with Muslims making very little effort to condemn things like the daily suicide bombings in Iraq, not to mention the larger terrorist attacks that take place on a regular basis around the world.

    As for burning the Bibles, that is despicable. And you’re right, we live in a culture that doesn’t get outraged about much of anything unless it has to do with interfering with our “rights” to be libertines.

  17. Gail F says:

    I read the CNN story and you are being a bit misleading. It is dated May of 2009, but by including it here you are implying that it happened in response to the crazy nut job in Florida. Also, while I still agree that burning them was wrong, they made a prudential decision to throw them away rather than send them back, and all the trash is burned. So it is not quite the same thing as throwing them on a fire.

  18. T. Shaw says:

    Marilyn Manson regularly wipes his rectum with pages ripped from the Holy Bible. They call it freedom of speech.

    Chris Ofili’s painting The Holy Virgin Mary, was smeared with elephant dung. They call it freedom of expression.

    Andres Serrano, placed a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of his own urine, and called it art. He even won an award. Again, freedom of expression.

    The American flag is pissed on, defecated upon, and eventually burned right here in America. They call it freedom of speech.

    If Pastor Jones so desires to burn copies of the koran, then let’s call it freedom of speech.



    Christians don’t blow up innocent people or tall buildings!

    Now, I get it.

  19. Tito Edwards says:

    The Koran Burning in Florida by the cult leader has been reportedly stopped.

    I can’t find the link but it has stopped.

    The pressure from the Obama White House (is my guess) must have worked.

    Now if they could only apply this to the Ground Zero Mosque builders it would be fine.

    Oh wait, just as T. Shaw says, since Christians don’t blow up buildings the Obama White House won’t bother. But due to Islamic threats about a Koran burning the White House quivers in terror.

  20. Joe Hargrave says:


    “by including it here you are implying that it happened in response to the crazy nut job in Florida”

    No I’m not.

    And as for the rest, what if they made that “prudential decision” about Korans in a different situation?

  21. Tito Edwards says:

    It has been reported, but not confirmed, is that the Koran burning is canceled because of an agreement to change the location of the Ground Zero Mosque.

  22. Joe Hargrave says:


    I haven’t seen anything on that.

    Frankly I’m sick of this nonsense. Should he burn the Koran? No.

    But I’m sick of people pretending that it isn’t a violent book that sanctions murder and war – and not seeing the bloody proof of it in the repeated and numerous threats of violence aimed at Americans all over the world because of the potential act of ONE American citizen.

  23. Joe Hargrave says:

    Seems fair to me.

    Squeamish liberals won’t see it this way, but I think this could be the beginning of a relationship based on respect.

    Not mutual love, not even admiration or “liking” – just simple respect. We don’t question each other’s sentiments and idiosyncrasies, why some don’t want a mosque at ground-zero, why others would kill to avenge the desecration of a sacred book. We accept them as givens, and we go from there.

    That is the only way for everyone to win. Otherwise, there is nothing but force and compulsion. Maybe the pastor had the right idea after all. Maybe.

  24. T. Shaw says:

    Today it’s, “Butcher those who burn Qran!” And, “Massacre Americans: they stopped a mosque!” Thanks, Imam Ralph! Thanks for the warning.

    Tomorrow it will be, “Convert or die!”

    Appeasement stinks.

  25. American Knight says:

    What was that stuff St. Paul was always talking about? Dower combat, fight the good fight, run the race to the finish, put on the whole armor of Christ.

    Hmm. . . it seems that Moslems know they are in a fight, one that they started, and we want to pretend that if we are nice, they’ll just stop being so mean.

    Our Marines were dispatched to the Barbary coast because we would not negotiate with Moslem terrorists/pirates. We have come a long, long way.

    I think we should respect Moslems, in fact, we must love them, but that does not mean we are to confirm them in their error or tolerate their heresy and violence. What more do we need to know but to look at what they’ve done: Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, Cordoba, Sicily, Tours, Poitiers, Curzolaris, Vienna. . . Lower Manhattan, London, Madrid. This is both a hot, violent war of sneaky suicide ninjas and a war of attrition. We are not winning on either front if we don’t acknowledge that we are at war.

  26. mundabor says:

    Terry Jones gave a longish interview to the BBC world service two days ago. The ground zero mosque was absolutely not on the agenda, rather the instrinsic irrational violence of Islam.
    I must say that I was impressed, until today when all that talk about waiting signals from God and receiving twelve possible options showed just how desperate he was to get out and how incapable some Protestantsa are to take any decision without claiming they have been inspired by God to do that, sharpish….


  27. Teresa says:

    Donald Trump has offered to buy the property where the mosque is supposed to be built at 25% above the original cost, but one of the developers has already refused his offer. This is most unfortunate. I wonder whether the builders have duped the Pastor into stopping the burning of Korans in return for a false hope or promise that the mosque is going to moved.

  28. T. Shaw says:

    St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 14:8. “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”

    The TV channels already are beginning with the specials. I lived it pretty much the same place Giuliani lived it.

    Hey! I was there in February 1993, too. Time flies. And, then I got to “sleep” in the city during the August 2003 “black out.”

    It was no good. Now, they moved us into the Empire State Building.

    One more “incident” and I’m out of here.

  29. GodsGadfly says:

    I was always taught burning and/or straight-up burial.
    And as for Jimmy Akin, that might fall under what some people call “Catholic grout,” the “oral traditions” that cradle Catholics just know and converts don’t quite get (but I don’t even think that’s necessarily so: I think it’s in the Roman Ritual aka Book of Blessings, since it pertains to Sacramentals). To say “throw it in the trash reverently” is like saying, “We’re not putting on this puppet show adaptation of the Gospel to be a show but to enhance people’s prayer experience”. Using “regular trash” is inherently irreverent.

    In any case, yeah, to throw away first then burn with the trash is definitely irreverent, and I’d say in some ways worse than “We’re having a bonfire!” As Peter Kreeft says, the opposite of love is not hatred but indifference.

    There’s a great pun on an episode of _Arrested Development_ where George Michael’s Fundamentalist girlfriend wants to have a “CD burning” party: when word gets out, the party is surprisingly popular, except destroying CDs, all these kids from school show up at her house to engage in illegal filesharing, and she freaks out.

    In any case, the media have intentionally blown this whole thing out of proportion. As the Curt Jester noted, where was all the international media attention last year when P.Z. Myers desecrated the Eucharist? If they *had* covered the story, it would have been “Innocent biologist threatened by evil Catholics over harmless prank”.

    I mean, if I want to hold a sign up in my yard declaring Nov. 12 International Barry Manilow Day (Nov. 12 is legally Barry Manilow Day in South Carolina), do I get an official Vatican statement on the matter?? I mean, it’s ridiculous. Some nutso wants to burn Korans in his backyard and the liberal media give him all this attention and condemnation and righteous anger so everyone can show how tolerant they are of Islam (proving that, of atheist philosophies, Hobbes, rather than Marx, is more correct when it comes to religion).

    And where are the celebrities, politicians and Vatican congregations to condemn the burning of actual Christians by Muslims?

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