Is It Hot in Here Or Is Your Koran on Fire?

For a wacko preacher of a church with less than fifty members, the pastor of the Gainesville congregation Dove Outreach Center Terry Jones, has proven himself a master promoter and genius in generating worldwide press coverage that corporate marketers with zillion dollar budgets can only dream about. It seems going public with his intention to stage a Koran burning and weenie roast — now canceled — from the front porch of his sparsely attended church to celebrate the 9/11 anniversary got a few folks, from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton and General David Petraeus, worked up into more than a spot of bother.

Denunciation and repudiation are the order of the day in dealing with such hate, bigotry and ignorance. No one on the world stage could believe these acts represent mainstream American thinking or values any more than Americans believe that all Muslims are terrorists… wait a minute… they aren’t – are they?

Uh oh. Doesn’t anyone see the irony in what these actions are highlighting? Even more dangerous than Jones’ actions are the broad brush strokes that propagandists and the citizenry of the world are using in showcasing the Florida cook-out as representative of American sentiment towards Islam and those “different” from the rest of us. Are there lessons here for us?

The more coverage the media provides to the bonfire, the more Jones and like minded hate mongers triumph in propagating their message. You don’t need me to tell you, this is indeed an incendiary situation.

Dousing the klieg lights and the tons of ink wasted on fringe radicals like Jones will go further than well intentioned rhetoric and any hook and ladder crew with hoses at the ready.

They’ve had their fifteen minutes of fame. It’s time to move on and not fan these flames with even more coverage.

Michael J. Solender

Michael J. Solender

Michael J. Solender is a recent corporate refugee whose opinion and satire has been featured in The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Winston-Salem Journal, and Richmond Style Weekly. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for The Charlotte Observer and is the City Life Editor for Charlotte ViewPoint. His micro-fiction has been featured online at Bull Men’s Fiction, Calliope Nerve, Danse Macabre, Dogzplot, Gloom Cupboard, Full of Crow, Pangur Ban Party and others.

You can find more of his work at his website and also at his blog.