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A new way for government to support Islam

Terry Jones, the pastor who talked about burning a Koran and then didn't do it, is going to be billed by the city of Gainesville, FL, for the "security costs" they incurred in doing what they thought necessary to secure the city as a result of his plans.

Let's think about that: A U.S. citizen plans, and announces plans, to engage in a legal action. Because Islam is a Religion of Peace (TM), and because his planned action is widely publicized, the citizen's city is scared to death of all manner of terrorist threats, and the citizen himself receives death threats. The city then spends extra money on security procedures against the expected or feared actions of evil men planning to engage in terrorist acts, and the city bills the citizen for the costs to public security incurred by a public entity to protect public safety. It plans to bill the citizen on the grounds that it was his announcement of a planned legal action which was expected to enrage evil men belonging to the Religion of Peace (TM) that caused the perceived need for the extra security arrangements.

Is it possible that such a billing is even legal? Could it possibly survive a court challenge on the grounds of its self-evident chilling effect on political speech and action?

Think about how this could play out as a precedent: Suppose that I blog something that makes Muslims angry. Suppose that I were to receive death threats and that my city were to receive threats from terrorists angered by what I had blogged. My city could then, in effect, punish me for engaging in completely legal political speech by billing me for whatever extra actions they had taken not only to protect me but to protect the city as a whole, including sites far from my home, from Muslims angered by my blogging.

This isn't about Koran burning per se. This is about being able to do anything that makes Muslims angry without being punished by your government. In effect, such government billings say, "Sit down and shut up, dhimmi. Didn't you get the memo? We don't do anything around here that makes Muslims angry. And if you do, you pay."

This must not be allowed to stand.

HT: VFR

Comments (75)

The cat's out of the bag. Islam is the new preferred cause, the new civil rights issue, the new mini-crusade for those who live for meaning in public issues and supposed reform.
We are the ones to be reformed. It will be the Europe model, and then some.
They must be laughing their sides sore over at the NY Times, within days of 9/11 they were pulling out the plugs on the religion of peace thing, and poor Abdul Abdullah living somewhere in fear of that dreaded thing, backlash.
When you understand that we are the enemy to what is laughably called the elite, you begin to grasp who and what we are up against.

This is a very serious thing. In effect, it amounts to a fine for insulting Islam. He must file a First Amendment lawsuit if he does get such a bill.

Is it legal? Yes.

Is it good policy? Probably. The police aren't constituted to be private security. Presidential candidates and office holders already reimburse local departments for their costs when they provide security.

This is crazy. I say something that is not slanderous or libelous about Islam, the Muslims threaten me, and the city will bill me for exercising my first amendment rights? The tea party folks better organize and get the morons who came up with this idea out of office to put the fear of God into any other politicians who might think of doing the same!

Count on MZ to defend this.

So, MZ, just how far does this go? Anybody who gets death threats by Muslims has to reimburse local security? Hmmm. Anybody who gets death threats from Muslims after doing something the local government thinks is "unreasonable" has to reimburse local security?

Lots of concern I see there about freedom of speech. You don't seem to care one whit that what this can amount to in practice is considering anybody to be accessing "private security" from the city government if he does anything that makes Muslims mad.

Oh, and by the way: Part of the costs incurred included extra security measures at the local malls. Terry Jones does not live at the mall. This is Terry Jones's "private security"? Don't make me laugh.

But I don't expect anything better from MZ anyway. It's interesting in a sort of detached way, though. MZ tells us what the left's talking points are going to be on this.

Make Muslims mad? Then defending not only you but the whole city against their death threats is automatically "private security." Check. Got it. Thanks for telling us.

The City of Gainesville's attorneys might want to read the Supreme Court's opinion in Forsythe County, Georgia v. the Nationalist Movement (1992)
" Speech cannot be financially burdened, any more than it can be punished or banned, simply because it might offend a hostile mob."
In short, what the City is proposing is unconstitutional.

"Is it legal? Yes."

Legal? Ha. It's likely unconstitutional.

See here:

http://volokh.com/2010/09/17/planning-to-burn-a-koran-200000-bill-from-the-government-for-policing-costs/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+volokh%2Fmainfeed+%28The+Volokh+Conspiracy%29

"Except that charging people money for extra policing, because of a fear that thugs would react violently to their speech, is unconstitutional, see Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992). In Forsyth, the Court held unconstitutional an ordinance under which the fee for parade permits was based partly on the likely cost of police protection, which in turn reflected the possibility of violent reaction to the speech....The costs to which petitioner refers are those associated with the public’s reaction to the speech. Listeners’ reaction to speech is not a content-neutral basis for regulation."

I was not at all on board with this whole Koran burning stunt. But billing the church for city services? I mean, that's what happened to the Balloon Boy hoaxers--where's the crime in what Pastor Jones did?

I'm a little shocked that there haven't been any Muslims that have threatened anyone for, say, allowing/supporting abortion or gay marriage (I have my serious doubts that Islam is OK with either abortion or gay marriage, but I admit I don't know much about it). Or has there been?

Not that I know of, Bobcat, but here's the thing: Muslims aren't nearly as bothered during this stage of things in America by supporting policies generally that Muslims oppose generally as they are by _insulting Islam_. Think of it in gangland terms: It's about what they perceive as "dissing" them. _That's_ what has to be threatened and suppressed.

Thanks, Jonathan and JC. I'm glad there are at least precedents already on the books on this. All the more reason for him to avail himself of the precedents if he does get a bill.

I think we're witnessing the unfolding of a new Satanic alliance between leftists and Islam. This alliance doesn't make sense on any other level - why would liberal, anti-religionists suddenly support the most conservative religion on the planet? There is no logical reason for such a thing. However, on a spiritual level, both sides exhibit extreme hatred for the God of Christians and Jews. This alliance only makes sense on that level.

A _new_ alliance between leftists and Islam? This alliance has been going on for quite a while. And indeed, what unites them is opposition to Christianity. Each side hopes that after Christianity has been stamped out or reduced to dhimmitude, it will come out on top. For the time being, they are happy to make common cause against the Christians.

Lots of concern I see there about freedom of speech.

I don't have a lot of concern for freedom of speech.

Oh, and by the way: Part of the costs incurred included extra security measures at the local malls.

Their ability to enforce collection on that would be dubious.

Despite your flippancy, the difference between security and enforcement are pretty clear cut.

Police (and any other agency) is free to bill for whatever they like. I could bill you for my time at this blog. Whether I could get a judgment to enforce the billing is a separate matter. Generally the tests are
1) Was expense incurred?
2) Is billing equitable?
3) Was the service demanded (which can be implied)?

Increasingly, departments are billing for accident investigations and fire response.

As for the Supreme Court case, that has to do with parade permits. The jurisprudence behind the right to parade is extensive and is one of the few activities presumed favor in free speech cases. Book burning is not a protected right. The jurisprudence on flag burning is hardly pretty.

on a spiritual level, both sides (ed. Mohammedians and Left)exhibit extreme hatred for the God of Christians and Jews.

Not everything is reduced to God no matter how religious you personally are.
Andy McCarthy of National Review has a book about it: The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America (amazon.com/Grand-Jihad-Islam-Sabotage-America/dp/1594033773/).

Lawrence Auster at www.amnation.com/vfr has a body of analytical work about this and related subjects, all from decidedly un-PC point of view.

I don't know what MZ means by saying that the jurisprudence on flag burning is "hardly pretty," but it would be extremely difficult (except, perhaps, for a justice of the Supreme Court) to argue that flag burning is protected as symbolic political speech but that burning one's own book on private property as a symbolic act is not.

And indeed, what unites them is opposition to Christianity.

Not most important reason. You have to take off your narrow view glasses. The Left wants to take down the Western Civilization, especially Big Satan, the USA as unjust, racists, bigoted, colonialist, etc, etc societies.

Muslims are commanded by Koran to wage a war on Dar al-Harb (House of War), ie everything that is not part of Dar al-Islam (House of Peace). So, if the West is not Muslim, the must wage war on it. If West submits and Christians will be become a good little Dhimmis, Mohammedians will not have problems with them.

For now the Left and Islam goals in respect to the West are perfectly fit together. In my observation most of the Left think Islam is not a threat or a very tiny threat compare to the military-industrial-colonialist-zionist USA, some of the left will submit to Islam when time comes in New York minute.

But I appreciate MZ's making my point: Billing for protection for this involves treating it as if the burning is itself an illegal act. In fact, even _threatening_ to burn a Koran (since Jones didn't actually do it) is being treated as an illegal act. What the city proposes doing is a form of punishment. Logically, there is no reason for their being able to get money from the church for city security (which is in essence a fine) but not being able to get away with banning the announcement altogether.

Generally the tests are
1) Was expense incurred?
2) Is billing equitable?
3) Was the service demanded (which can be implied)?

I was reading your comments and have met all 3 tests:
1) I have spent 2 min reading them and it took me 1 sec to see how insanely great your comments are. So 2 min 1 sec of my billable time
2) At $60/h, average US gov wage, I think billing is equitable
3) You most definitely wanted your comments to be read, otherwise you would have flashed them down the toilet, so implicitly demanded my service in reading your totally insanely great comments.

You owe me $2, please supply your billing address.

"And then they came for MZ'.

Presidential candidates and office holders already reimburse local departments for their costs when they provide security.

Isn't this reimbursement taken from the public trough, funds to which a private citizen like Jones has no access?

Chucky Darwin, the alliance is real, and is not new, but the extent of the alliance is new: it extends now even to those wishy-washy middle-of-the-road people and entities who thought that they could escape being outright dhimmis if they submitted to the liberal mantra and refused to be forthright in denouncing stupid liberal nonsense even when they knew it was stupid. Now they are stuck: a basic American city council can either put up with making Islamicists mad, or they can try to quell free speech without (in their hopes, anyway) making it too obvious that they are quelling free speech. There are only 1 percent Muslims in this country, and only 15-20% true blue liberals, but the 30% brain-dead muddles in the middle who vote for "hope-N-change" without having a clue, are being pushed in a direction that they don't like but can't see their way out of it (because they are too used to believing the liberal mantra that standing up courageously for your freedoms and your convictions is, umm, not polite.)

Think of it in gangland terms: It's about what they perceive as "dissing" them. _That's_ what has to be threatened and suppressed.

This reminds me of the communion wafer desecration. Which prompted someone to write this:
http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2007/11/are_there_any_mere_symbols.html

FWIW, I don't think the bill should be paid, as it plainly infringes upon his right to free speech.

One of the posts I'm still most pleased with and have often considered re-posting, Step2. Are you implying some conflict? Because I'm sure not seeing one.

Oh, wait, _I_ get it. Even if one doesn't believe the Koran is from God, one should never desecrate it?

Ah, but you have no idea how extreme I am, Step2. The Koran isn't a mere symbol attall. I'd certainly never say that it is.

The Left wants to take down the Western Civilization

I totally agree. The Left and Muslims both hate Western Civilization. Quite possibly, hatred (and envy) of the West is the primary driving emotion behind both groups.

A good example of this is the Gaza flotilla incident, where hard core Western leftists stood shoulder to shoulder with murderous jihadists.

I believe it was Meir Kahane who pointed out that "everyone hates Joseph." Joseph being the favored son of Jacob who was resented by his brothers. Westerners, in particular white Christians and Jews, are the modern Josephs, graced by The Almighty One with certain special abilities.

That's so weird. I thought Muslims were tough. It turns out that they are such wimps that they need to engage in bullying.

Short of a miracle, there are only two endings possible for the West in regards to Jihad.

First, there is surrender, and all the awful horror that entails. Sure, there may be some dhminni around, scurrying away, trying not to get noticed. The real question is, what happens to a religion held together by violence towards all infidels, when there are no infidels to blame? Will the young men turn on their polygamist emirs, demanding wives for themselves, or will the bloodbath continue between factions and tribes? Perhaps decades of directionless turmoil will play out as a reducto ad absurdam for Islam. One can only hope.

Second, the West gets stung mightily, at just the wrong time for Islam. With the replacement of Christian morals with the eleasure principle and emotivism, there is no real restraining the West from truly barbaric actions. Muslims could well meet their match in violence, brutality, and bloody-mindedness should they draw the ire of ascendant fascism. Some may laugh at the idea, however, in all seriousness, fascism is only a half-thought away in the mind of every socialist; just a subtle twist of whom they focus their hatred on, and it's all over.

I would really like a miracle instead....

Just a thought. Some around here seem to value something called "community". Do any of those folks have a problem with a handful of ideologues selfishly wasting scarce community resources? Sure, they may have a right to do it but their actions have nothing to do with making things better in a place like Gainesville.

It should hardly be necessary to point out that the locals reactions have nothing to do with "supporting Islam" and everything to do with the frustration of local officials seeing their already stretched budgets blown up by a small group of selfish idiots. Yes, I would say the same thing about flag-burners and I hate puppets. The moral threshold for doing something that uses local resources should be very high and this doesn't come close.

It also shouldn't be necessary to point out the absurdity of some sort of left/Islamic alliance against the West. The left is the West and social conservatives are social conservatives regardless of where they happen to reside; the other labels - Jiadhi, Islamist, Christianist are of secondary importance and relate to accidents of birth more than anything else..

" Do any of those folks have a problem with a handful of ideologues selfishly wasting scarce community resources?"

In this case, I don't have a problem with it mainly because the Jihadists/Leftists waste lots and lots of scarce community resources, quite possibly a lot more than Christians and/or Conservatives. And I don't hear about governments billing anyone for it.

For example, I didn't hear about the City of New York trying to bill the Ground Zero Mosque Iman for providing security for anti-Mosque protests.

"It also shouldn't be necessary to point out the absurdity of some sort of left/Islamic alliance against the West. "

Well for starters will you concede that there is a Leftist/Islamic alliance against Israel?


Do any of those folks have a problem with a handful of ideologues selfishly wasting scarce community resources? Sure, they may have a right to do it but their actions have nothing to do with making things better in a place like Gainesville.

The bill should be sent to Congress, which allowed the Muslims threatening Jones into the country in the first place.

Jones did nothing wrong or illegal. Those threatening him, on the other hand, are committing a crime. And you want Jones to pay the bill. Thanks for proving that the leftist/Islamist alliance against the West is not a figment of our imaginations. The jihadists will achieve their aims with the help of American lawyers.

From an asymmetrical warfare point of view, a guerrilla could not ask for a better advantage. All the average mujahid need do is identify his target and call in a few death threats, and the state will turn the target's neighborhood into a warzone without a shot being fired. Maximum gain for very little risk.

The moral threshold for doing something that uses local resources should be very high and this doesn't come close.

This is fallacious. It's wrong to put the blame on the individual exercising his rights when it so obviously belongs on the local government apparatus that flies into a frenzy at the slightest whiff of controversy. By that logic, all the government need do is threaten to flood neighborhoods with expensive "security" to effectively shut down freedom of expression.

That's so weird. I thought Muslims were tough. It turns out that they are such wimps that they need to engage in bullying.

I don't want to be a troll by criticizing this comment, but does any contributer or regular commenter see a problem worth responding to here?


Just someone, go get a life.

The moral threshold for doing something that uses local resources should be very high and this doesn't come close.

The moral threshold in personal terms is important: anyone who wishes to speak his mind freely ought to take personal responsibility for that speech. But the PUBLIC, LEGAL threshold, what SOCIETY insists on for liability, is a different matter altogether.

Al, your comment would be a somewhat reasonable approach to take, if only it were really valid in the public setting. But it has all sorts of problems. For instance, what about the costs (yes, moral, but also direct and indirect financial costs) of NOT doing something that uses local resources. This is real, but difficult to quantify. Yet we see it every single day in government: the cost of NOT planning for and setting aside funds for winter snow removal equipment, for emergency room services, for adequate sewer capacity, and so on. So some jerk doesn't like when some bozo complains that our unrestrained use of fertilizers is going to cost us lots more down the road: who is "costing" society more, the bozo who points out the future cost, or the jerk who takes offence and rants and raves to the point of public disturbance? That's why we accept and generalize the legal costs of free speech in society, and when someone exercises that freedom, the people who make illegal and immoral threats against someone are liable for expenses, if any particular party is.

If the Koran-burning reverend engaged in specific acts that are comparable to "fighting words" to specific individuals, and then called up the police chief asking for a police bodyguard 24-7 just to be safe, that would be one thing. (Using "fighting words" is not, generally, 1st amendment protected speech anyway, nor speech that needs public protection generally.) But asking for a personal bodyguard is a far cry from simply asking the police to do their general, normal job of securing the public from those who threaten evil.

Disclaimer: I think symbolic Koran-burning is pretty stupid, and probably wrong-headed anyway in moral terms. I wouldn't support the act itself, and I would tend to dis-associate myself from people who think that it is worthwhile. But as long as public acts of desecration of Christian symbols remain protected, trying to bill the person who burns the Koran for extra police costs is stupid squared.

He ought to pay the bill in Monopoly money, with this note attached: since I was going to burn a work of fiction, I include the appropriate currency.

Tony, Jeff, I wasn't referring to his right to burn the book; I was pointing out that he was a bad neighbor for burdening his community. Had local law enforcement done nothing and some Jihadis employed an infernal machine against the pastor and his flock, that too, would have likely been represented as "supporting Islam" (some might argue that, in homage to Oscar Wilde, such an event, followed by our Jihadis being trucked over the county line for a date with Old Sparky, would be a win -win, but I wouldn't).

By the time we leave grade school, most of us understand that responsibilities go along with rights and exercising those rights involves a certain moral calculus.

(As a side note, I would point out that the mosque/cultural center in lower Manhattan was proposed and approved with no opposition and local support/indifference until a certain deranged blogger decided to stir up the usual suspects and a few hack politicians jumped on the bandwagon. Send the bill to Pammy.)

Well, yes, for local law enforcement to refuse to exercise its normal function of, you know, enforcing the law, and to do so because it thought the actions of the pastor unreasonable, etc., and wanted to distance itself from them, _would_ be a kind of supporting Islam. And all the more so if this had been announced, which is sort of like putting a "kick me" sign on the church property.


Suppose that a Nazi group threatens a synagogue and the local law enforcement refuses to do anything about it. If that isn't supporting the Nazi group's goals, I don't know what is.

Somehow I suspect that if a synagogue decided to burn Mein Kampf, and its leaders were subsequently threatened and harassed by a gang of local skinheads, Al would be singing a different tune ...

Jews don't burn books; they read them. A rebbe who organized a book burning would be a shanda, IMHO. Otherwise you both make my point. Your pastor and his congregation were bad neighbors who put local officials (and their neighbors tax dollars) in an impossible situation.

Adults consider consequences. Prudent people don't lightly do things that will likely compel them to kill lots of folks. That is how we survived the Cold War using the liberal-devised containment strategy. Had conservatives been doing the strategy we should have blown everything up.

Al, you wrote:

Jews don't burn books; they read them.

You must have missed this story:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/orthodox-jewish-youths-burn-new-testaments-in-or-yehuda-1.246153

Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.

Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.

After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it.

"The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue," he said.

The newspaper Maariv reported Tuesday that hundreds of yeshiva students took part in the book-burning.

Prudent people don't lightly do things that will likely compel them to kill lots of folks.

Whatever that means, precisely. But if the "lots of folks" in question are a bunch of al Qaeda members or their ilk plotting terrorist attacks in the U.S., I'm not shedding any tears at the prospect of their being arrested, tried, and executed.

al:

Suppose there was a book of child pornography that included photos of your children. I would support your right to burn it.

TA

I noticed a considerable amount of security provided by the APD when I jogged by the synagogue in my neighborhood during the Jewish Holidays. I was glad for it, and would not begrudge the expense for a moment; in Europe Islam and the Left seem content to let the violence be -- so long as it stays anti-Jewish violence. And here in America even, while the media carries on in exaggeration of Tea Party severity, the campuses seethe with the same thing, or rather the same thing as it appeared in Europe ten years ago.

But any case all you have to do is provoke Islam and you require security. How that security is paid for may a secondarily interesting question; the salient fact is established. It is that Americans do have reason to fear this religion and its radical doctrines.

A nitwit troll here recent harangued us for daring to use Chesterton's name in the course of arguing for a strenuous response to the Jihad. I pointed to GKC's masterpiece of a poem, "Lepanto," in which the Islamic Prophet is referred to hilariously as "Mahound."

The fool could not see that were Chesterton (or a writer of his stature) to write this poem today he might be gutted on the street like Van Gogh.

The original post groundlessly assumes that the threats were from Muslims. Where is the evidence for this? President Obama and General Petraeus publicly argued that Koran burning would threaten the lives of US troops abroad. That's why people were sending in threats. Everyone was outraged, not just Muslim-Americans, but all sorts of Americans. Go back and read the message boards at foxnews.com for God's sake. This was non-partisian outrage. Before posting next time, the OP might want to read a newspaper or two.

By now a certain clarity should be emerging. Christianity is uniquely successful in placing certain limits on behavior. Revenge and vigilante justice are strictly forbidden. Forgiveness is paramount. Love of neighbor is non-negotiable.

In its tolerance and acceptance of the "other", Christianity is demonstrably unsurpassed among world religions, despite extremely rare lapses. The Jews who burned hundreds of New Testaments in 2008 suffered no reprisals from Christians, and there is no danger whatsoever that they will.

So, here is the axiom you can take to the bank:

In a nation ideologically committed to religious pluralism, it will always be Christianity that is blasphemed and insulted with impunity.

For Christians, a question: Is that really the best we can do for Our Lord? Should there be no nation on earth where God is honored, where His rights are jealously guarded, where the truth is privileged and not placed on equal footing with lies and blasphemies and insults?

Discussions such as this one always degenerate into false equivalencies. I myself am often guilty of this. But we've got to ditch the language of equivalency if there is any hope of saving our civilization from barbarism. The New Testament is the word of God; the Koran is a demonic pack of lies. The political act of burning the former should be proscribed by law; the latter, protected. It matters not how anyone might respond. It is the business of government to "truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion and virtue", if I may borrow from the Book of Common Prayer. Failing to do this, be assured that our cherished religious "freedom" will become a powerful instrument of religious persecution in this country - against Christians.

"And here in America even, while the media carries on in exaggeration of Tea Party severity..."

We should be so lucky. The sad reality is that the Tea party is a far greater danger to our commonweal then all the troglodyte terrorists on the planet (unless they managed to get some nukes). So far TP economics is going to give us a decade or more of high unemployment and low growth. If they succeed in screwing around with HCR and the deficit we will be on our way to disaster.

What I meant Lydia, was in the context of the Cold War and containment. As you know I consider traditionalism and social conservatism to be the core problematic element in the world at this time. Christianist, Jewish, Hindu, and Islamic fundamentalism are mere subsets of these twin evils. I also believe that, just as the internal contradictions inherent in Communism doomed it, so do the internal problems with T and SC doom them. The trick is to devise a strategy that marginalizes and deflates the threat at the least cost. Creating more fundamentalists means we need to kill more people and that has its downside. So Paul, if Islam, qua Islam, is the problem then, in a Burnham-like A/B equation, there being a billion or so Muslims, well, we face an unplesent future. Or you all could start thinking more like George Kennan and less like Sayyid Qutb.

Central to this is a strong U.S. and that means a strong economy and that means, of course, social democracy.

Religious worship by peaceably abiding folks is a core American value that needs to be protected regardless of the religion. Social disapproval of nitwit, anti-social behavior is a separate issue. So far the threats to Jews in this country have mostly come from Christianist fringies.

"Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land."

And you are happily pointing it out which makes it a shanda which was my point.

"The New Testament is the word of God; the Koran is a demonic pack of lies."

Do we bomb Israel now? Burn the Mishnah? Guys, do you see my point about needlessly multiplying enemies. Burning any book in a ritualized manner is the sign of a disordered mind and a sick soul. The sharp tilt to the right in Israel is a source of shame and sadness. Still getting worked up about this foolishness serves no purpose.

Jeff,

The main difference I see between Christianity and Islam WRT human behavior is that Christians are told to leave judgement to God whereas Muslims are commanded to carry out Allah's judgements for him.

For the Christian, it is enough that those who hate God will have to face Him in the end and account for their hatred.

The Muslim OTOH, is compelled to force obedience to Allah and to execute judgement on those who refuse.

It's a small god who needs man to enforce his laws. My God needs no such thing.

Al, you scoffed at the idea that if the police had pointedly refused to provide any special security, this would have been supporting Islam. I made the comparison to threats against a synagogue to try to find out what you really think. Do you really think that the government's refusing to protect against threats is supporting the threateners--by aiding and abetting their intimidation tactics--only when you approve of the people threatened, but not when you don't? Let's try a thought experiment. In which if any of the following scenarios, in your opinion, is the government supporting the agenda of the bad guys and tacitly assisting them in their campaign of intimidation?

1a. Synagogue simply exists. Gets threats from neo-Nazis that center on a particular date. Local police pointedly and explicitly refuse to do anything to respond to the threats.

1b. Same as above, except that the police do take special security measures for the synagogue and its neighborhood but send the bill to the synagogue.

2a. Synagogue announces plans to burn a copy of Mein Kampf. Gets threats from neo-Nazis. Local police pointedly and explicitly refuse to do anything about it.

2b. Synagogue announces the plans. Police take security measures and send a bill to the synagogue.

Is the government supporting the neo-Nazis' agenda in any of these scenarios? Some? None?

I say, to one extent or another, in all of them.

Let's remember too that the city wants to bill the church for security _elsewhere in the city_, too. But I nicely and kindly left that out of my scenarios.

K., if it weren't for Muslim violence, nobody would have made that claim about increased danger to the military. Personally, I'll eat my hat if military families were planning terrorist acts against Jones's church or the city of Gainesville, but if they were, then _they_ were joining with the Muslims in defending Islam against being "disrespected." Congratulations to them. If you know of military family terrorist plots, I'd be curious to hear more, but it certainly won't change any of my opinions on this. What that would simply mean is that we now have non-Muslim terrorists acting against people who anger Muslim terrorists and rioters because they believe that the Muslim terrorists and rioters will hurt their military family members abroad. Whoopee. Just goes to show _me_ that Islam is a Religion of Peace. I'll have to publish a correction _right away_.

Still not one piece of evidence that even a single threat came from a Muslim. I'm not surprised. I guess that's bound to happen when you just make things up on the spot.
And since when is the entire population of the United States made up of either a) Muslim-Americans or b) Military families? Those are the only two groups that can produce threats? Seriously, Lydia, do try to be a little more rigorous next time.

Plug into my comments, if you will, "people outraged because they think that the military will be in greater danger from Muslims abroad" instead of "military families" if you like. Then those unspecified "people" are the ones working with the Muslims to punish insult to Islam. Look, either you're stupid, K., or you realize that the whole regress of "outrage" goes back to a perceived Muslim threat. That is, after all, the entire _basis_ of the claim that "our military will be at greater risk." You can't get a fear of Muslim violence out of the equation no matter how hard you try, because _you're_ the one who brought up the rather idiotic argument from Obama et. al. that was made against the Koran burning from a perceived increased threat to American military abroad. And _they're_ the ones who made the claim, not I, so argue with them. You think maybe it was the Buddhists who were supposed to pose an increase threat to our military as a result of a plan to burn the Koran?

In the original post, you claimed that MUSLIMS threatened both Gainesville and Terry Jones. Your claim was not about threats to our troops abroad. It was about direct threats against Gainesville and Terry Jones. Yet you have not provided one single shred of evidence that any Muslim made even one threat. It's an important omission because everyone from John McCain to David Petraeus to Barack Obama argued that burning the Koran would endanger troops abroad. This set off universal outrage at Terry Jones. People (including many posters at foxnews.com) thought he was endangering US soldiers. If endangering US soldiers isn't a motive for a threat, I don't know what is. Yet, you were either uninformed about the universal outrage, or chose to ignore it. In any case, you prejudged that the direct threats were from Muslims, and you did so without any direct evidence (and you still haven't given any).

K, this was all over the news:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/09/terry-jones-timeline-it-all-st.html

Sept. 8 (3:32 p.m.) - Jones remains steadfast, claiming he has received more than 100 death threats and that he has begun carrying a pistol. (AP)

I don't see what that's supposed to show, Jeff. No one disputes that Terry Jones received death threats. My claim is that Lydia assumed they were threats from Muslims, without citing any evidence, and in spite of the fact that plenty of non-Muslims had a motive to threaten Terry Jones since they thought his actions would endanger US troops.

It's supposed to be outraged Americans who threatened him. We all know how common that is, and how uncommon Muslim threats are.

Still not one single link to one single piece of evidence. And what's more, now we're down to one-line responses.

Threats by outraged Americans are uncommon? I'm sure the politicians in this article will be happy to know that: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37726.html

Or is it that you just made up another "fact," Lydia?

It's supposed to be outraged Americans who threatened him.

Gotcha. Exhibit A of how egalitarianism rots the brain.

I am not an egalitarian. For one, I think Lydia's original argument is far worse than most. Not equal. Far worse.

Well, I could link to Wikipedia, which identifies two Muslim sources as having issued threats. But so what? Most people who make such threats in this country don't identify themselves. The threat can come from Muslims directly, or from useful idiots acting on their behalf. Whether it originates with Tweedle-Dum or Tweedle-Dee, it still works on only one behalf. So Lydia's real argument - "This is about being able to do anything that makes Muslims angry without being punished by your government" - is quite good, and obviously true at that.

I'm glad to see that someone who doesn't know the difference between a conclusion and an argument thinks that Lydia's "argument" is "quite good" and "obviously true."

K. -- what this amounts to is that the rest of us do not share your view that assuming a Muslims source for the threats is a bad assumption. Gen. Petraeus and Secretary Gates made a very similar assumption concerning out troops. But in any case, the question as framed by you is now moot, as Bill has cited some identifiably Muslim sources behind at least some of the threats in Gainesville.

The argument that X, Y or Z domestic expression will endanger troops in the field has been a regular feature of American public discourse in any wartime environment. No doubt there have been many death threats in the course of these debates. I'll also note that we have reports this morning that Imam Rauf of the Ground Zero Mosque fame is now receiving police protection and will not come to New York "out of security concerns." I hope you're not making any assumptions about that news.

The new twist here, which is the concern of this post, is that giving offense to Islam has now acquired the character of the most provocative and outrageous expression -- beyond flag-burning or even cross-burning.

The original post claimed that the threats to both Gainesville and Terry Jones were made by Muslims. The claim was not about threats to our troops abroad. It was about direct threats against Gainesville and Terry Jones. The question was whether those direct threats to Gainesville and Terry Jones were made by Muslims.

1. Even if Bill's wikipedia-sourced claims stand up, Lydia's claim was not that some Muslim's made some threats, but that the threats were made BY MUSLIMS. Even if she didn't mean that every single threat was from a Muslim, she meant at the very least that most of the threats were made by Muslims, and Bill's wikipedia-sourced claims don't show this. According to Bill, they identify two Muslim sources. Recall that Terry Jones claims he received 100 death threats.

2. The fact that Bill found some post-hoc evidence on wikipedia doesn't show Lydia's had actual justification for her original claim (that the threats to both Gainesville and Terry Jones were made by Muslims). That is, it doesn't show that she possessed that evidence.

Perhaps we should take K's argument and ask the city of Gainesville to send the bill for security to General Petraeus and President Obama for inciting violence against the church. After all, according to K., their statements were so effective that the entire country, Muslim and non-Muslim, was roused by it to issue threats against the church and city so that now we can't even assume that those were Muslim threats.

So Paul, if Islam, qua Islam, is the problem then, in a Burnham-like A/B equation, there being a billion or so Muslims, well, we face an unpleasant future. Or you all could start thinking more like George Kennan and less like Sayyid Qutb.

Al, having foreseen said unpleasant future, I began thinking precisely in terms of Kennan-esque terms of containment of Islam, and especially containment of its doctrines of Holy War and Holy Subjugation, at least five years ago. Which is why I rejected all the previous administration's balderdash about Islamic democracy as a goal of US policy. Which is why I proposed a blanket ban on Muslim immigration. Which is why I proposed legislation to specifically embrace Jihad, Dhimma and Shariah into the ambit of our sedition law. Etc. I don't want to fight wars against Islam; I want to keep Islam's inevitable wars away from America.

As for Burnham, from him I learned vital distinction between formal and real features of the political world. Thus I can avoid the extraordinary absurdity of imagining that a moderate shift in the complexion of Congress, under pressure from renewed populism, is comparable to, even exceeds in import, the world-historical challenge of Islam.

Five years ago right-wingers used to smugly lecture me on the point that Islam in America is "different," and "we'll never see homegrown Muslim terrorists," etc. Only five years ago. Today, not even a brassbound Lefty like you can deny that we have a serious problem with a homegrown Jihad, as Ft. Hood and the failed Times Square bombing demonstrated.

So far the threats to Jews in this country have mostly come from Christianist fringies.

That is a ridiculous claim, but I do not neglect to note the rather shaky qualifiers you have added. Give Islam a few more years and not even those trusty qualifiers will protect you. Already on some University of California campuses we have seen that the prominent display of a Star of David is an invitation to abuse, vandalism and even violence.

Is it possible that such a billing is even legal? Could it possibly survive a court challenge on the grounds of its self-evident chilling effect on political speech and action?

It was a joke, K. I think they should be sending the bill to no outside person. This should be regarded as part of defending the citizens of Gainesville. They can hold fund-raisers if the Gainesville PD needs extra cash.

But I see that your sense of humor is as deficient as your ability to evaluate inductive evidence.

The joke's on you, Lydia. Baited again.

Lydia, you aren't reading closely. I pointed out that Jones has a right to burn the Koran. Case law would (properly) imply that the billing won't fly. A free society must, from time to time, tolerate fools and jerks as the price of that freedom as well as all sorts of things that some may find improper or even immoral (home schooling, abortion, same-sex relationships, hate speech, petty bigotry, etc.).

I am making three points:

1. You are asserting constructive support. Constructive formulations are usually self-serving and can lead to dangerous places. They are too often the mark of an authoritarian thought process. If there is an alternative explanation, constructive formulations should be rejected.

The locals were likely angered and freaked at what this did to their budgets, nothing else.

2. Moral actors need to consider the costs of their actions on others. "I have a right", is where one properly begins that calculus; it is never sufficient on its own. Jones and his congregation are bad neighbors. Copping an attitude and wasting scarce resources is bad behavior.

3. Ritualized gestures of disgust like book-burning are the marks of a disordered mind. They are free to burn the book. I am free to point out their pathologies.

However, I will take your test.

"1a. Synagogue simply exists. Gets threats from neo-Nazis that center on a particular date. Local police pointedly and explicitly refuse to do anything to respond to the threats."

The police must investigate credible threats.

"1b. Same as above, except that the police do take special security measures for the synagogue and its neighborhood but send the bill to the synagogue."

This involves a judgment call. Some threats would justify undercover actions, others a black & white parked out front, others would call for the synagogue hiring private security. Police actions aren't billable of course.

(I have some experience here. A neighbor witnessed a body drop many years ago and the paper printed his name and address - we had a cop car parked in the neighborhood for awhile. I was threatened by a then well-known terrorist many years ago; I carried a revolver for awhile and that was sufficient - he was murdered in an unrelated matter some time later.)

"2a. Synagogue announces plans to burn a copy of Mein Kampf. Gets threats from neo-Nazis. Local police pointedly and explicitly refuse to do anything about it."

Depends on the nature of the threats. Credible threats need to be investigated. If they are too vague to follow up - there you are. In any case the synagogue needs to hire private security. (The synagogue also needs a new board and the rabbi needs to find a different calling as they all are responsible for a shanda. Others in the community need to go shopping and replace their rent garments.)

2b. Synagogue announces the plans. Police take security measures and send a bill to the synagogue.

Again, depends on the nature of the threats. Threats to the wider community need to be dealt with and the synagogue can't be billed in most cases. If there weren't threats to the wider community, the synagogue needs to hire private security.

"Is the government supporting the neo-Nazis' agenda in any of these scenarios? Some? None?"

Depends on the circumstances. Absent evidence of antisemitism, I wouldn't allege outright support. The information you supply is insufficient. As I indicated above, I see no benefit and plenty of downside in falling back on constructive allegations. There are reasons we no longer recognize constructive crimes.

Jones has a right to burn the Koran.

I'm not sure about this, at least traditionally. Incitement would seem to apply.

A more recent example from Germany would be:
Seven men have been charged with inciting racial hatred after a copy of Nazi concentration camp victim Anne Frank's diary was burned in public, prosecutors said Thursday. http://www.haaretz.com/news/7-charged-with-inciting-racial-hatred-in-anne-frank-book-burning-1.202862

Book burning isn't literary criticism after all. Be it obscenity or pornography, those that desire can draw distinctions.

Hot Air has some interesting commentary, albeit sympathetic to a wide view of the 1st amendment. http://hotair.com/archives/2010/09/14/more-on-breyers-horrible-equivocation-about-burning-korans/

M.Z., this is the United States of America not Germany. We breath the sweet air of freedom. European (and other nations who should know better) have all sorts of wienie laws on what should be free expression.

I'm not sure about this, at least traditionally. Incitement would seem to apply.

It would only apply if Piss Christ and that portrait of the Virgin Mary made from elephant dung can be considered incitement. Are you willing to go on the record calling for the prosecution of those "artists" for "incitement" if the statute of limitations has not expired, or for the prosecution of anyone who displays their works in public?

MZ evidently thinks "inciting racial hatred" is against the law in the U.S.

MZ, inciting hatred isn't against the law in the U.S.

The other line they might pursue is the ruling in Brandenburg v. Ohio about when a speaker can be silenced in order to prevent him from inciting a riot. That’s slightly different from the case above: In Brandenburg, the fear was that the audience would be inspired by the speaker to commit violence against others whereas in the “fighting words” case the fear was that the audience would be enraged by the speaker and commit violence against him. The Jones situation is basically a hybrid of the two. The Court’s test announced in Brandenburg is that the cops can move in if the speech is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

From the second link. I figured you'd have read that, given it is your crowd and all.

The Court’s test announced in Brandenburg is that the cops can move in if the speech is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

By making this argument you're making Jones' point about Islam, violence and terrorism.

directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

likely to incite such action where? In the immediate vicinity of the speaker? within the jurisdiction of the arresting authority? Anywhere in the world?

Don't know if this will work or not.depends on the nature of the threats. Threats to the wider community need to be dealt with and the synagogue can't be billed in most cases. Discount Mizuno GolfIf there weren't threats to the wider community, the synagogue needs to hire private security.
Hope the government is doing really good thing to our citizen.
This is the only thing we need to care.

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