I've avoided blogging about Terry Jones — the Florida pastor with fewer congregants than Jay-Z's entourage — because I didn't want to contribute to the MSM sin of making this nutjob an international "sensation" for his plan to burn Korans on September 11. But there is an angle to this story that is worthy of comment.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line draws my attention to something Bill Otis noted at his Crime and Consequences blog. This was the lead of a recent Associated Press story filed about the time Jones started thinking better of his stunt and called it off:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- FBI agents visited Thursday with a minister of a small Florida church that plans to burn the Quran on Sept. 11, as public safety became a paramount concern and President Barack Obama added his voice to the chorus of opposition.
Why the hell is the FBI visiting Jones on this matter? What "public safety" concern is addressed by Jones' stunt? Now, if it's to offer the federal government's protection if radical Muslims aim to attack him or his 50 congregants for not untypical violent threats and retaliation, that's one thing. But it sure is curious that shortly after this visit from the FBI, Jones decided to call off his Koran book-burning stunt.
Say what you want about Jones' idea to set Koran's aflame because — as he claims — God told him that was a good idea. (And now, Jones claims, God has told him to reconsider). I think burning a pile of Korans on 9/11 is stupid — just as stupid as burning an American flag. Both are a disrespectful and childish act of free speech meant to provoke.
But, in America, it is still our right to burn any private property we wish as a form of free speech. So I'm suspicious of the visit by the FBI. I think the feds told Jones that he could get in trouble if he carried out his stunt — perhaps charged with a "hate crime." Paul at Power Line is also suspicious:
This raises the suspicion that the FBI visit was an attempt to intimidate Rev. Jones. A vist for this purpose would be an entirely improper infringement on his (and by extension our) civil liberties.
Complicating this issue — or, more accurately, clarifying it — is the fact that President Obama, and the rest of the left and the MSM, has manned the parapets to defend the proposed construction of an immense mosque at Ground Zero. The mosque, they say, is a celebration of our First Amendment rights of freedom of religion and expression. But Jones' expression of his First Amendment rights of freedom of religion and expression is something the president condemned — and the FBI decided was worth a visit. For some reason.
There is something wrong with this dynamic. Something a bit un-American. Something rightly labeled dhimmitude.