To Burn Or Not To Burn, That Is The Question

Down through recorded history there have been the book burners and book banners in the world. Some well thought of; others, not so well thought of.

By far the most famous book burning was done at the Library of Alexandria. It was a very serious burning because, in those times, before the printing press, there were very few copies of books. Sometimes there was only one. So, when that library burned, along with its books, real ancient treasures were lost forever.

*Plutarch (CE 46–120) wrote that during his visit to

Alexandria in 48 BCE, Julius Caesar accidentally burned the library down when he set fire to his own ships.

*Edward Gibbon attributed the library's demise to Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria.

*Taken From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The most famous book burner in modern time I would say was Hitler, who burned The Bible and a lot of other books during the 1930’s in NAZI Germany.

The most famous city for banning books is


MA. There was a time in this country that, if an author wanted to insure readership, he would write his book with enough lurid language in it to get it banned in


Now, Pastor Terry Jones is about to join that group.

One thing we have learned from history: Book burning and banning in modern times do not keep those books from being read, now, maybe, by even more people if only to see why someone thought they ought to be banned or burned in the first place.

People burn the American Flag all the time. It may be against the law to burn it, except in a prescribed way, under prescribed circumstances, because The American People hold it as a sacred Icon of their country, but, burn them they will.

Other people from other lands, and, in other lands may not hold it sacred, and, so, burn it in anger and frustration because “The Satan of The West” won’t leave them alone to kill each other as they please, without “righteous” intervention.

Is it the duty of the Secretary of State to publicly chastise a citizen of this country for burning someone else’s Icon?

Well, freedom of expression is supposed to be an inalienable right, and that is, basically, what Pastor Jones says he is seeking.

Is it true, as General David Petraeus suggests that Pastor Jones, burning a quantity of Qur’an books in

Florida will somehow make it more dangerous for our troops in


American troops are the most well trained and well equipped in the world. They are already on high alert and cognizant of the dangers the enemy poses in that theater.

A crazed enemy is usually easier to deal with than a normal enemy. The enraged enemy will lose his cool and charge angrily toward his objective thereby exposing himself unnecessarily to the suppressing fire of his adversary rather than skillfully executing his plan of attack.

If American troops have the proper “rules of engagement”, their superior training, firepower and intelligence will keep them healthy in battle no matter how upset or angry the enemy may get because of propaganda.

It is my belief the only thing that keeps American troops from winning anywhere in the world, against any foe is the real intent of their Commander in Chief, his political commitments, and any secret agendas he may have. The reason for that belief is because of the idiotic set of “rules of engagement” they are forced to use in recent times.

In the situation of a Pastor of a Christian Church desecrating a symbol of someone else’s belief system, some have asked, what would Christ (the Founder of his religion) do?

We have some testimony in The Bible.

One well known quote is: “He without sin should cast the first stone.” Those righteous men, knowing they all had some sin themselves, quietly walked away.

Then there was the time when He got really angry at the money changers and sacrifice sellers who had encroached so far onto The Temple grounds as to have set up stalls inside it. Christ grabbed something like a club and started swinging it, scattering all the merchants and condemning what they did in the Name of His Father.

So, we see that even the Founder of a world wide religion which has lasted more than 2000 years can do angry things when an insult becomes “personal”.

What about God Himself. “Revenge is Mine, sayeth The Lord”, is the Bible quote that quickly comes to mind.

So, it may be better for a Pastor who wants to increase his following to emulate the calm, cool and collected Christ who said, “Turn the other cheek.”, and, “Come, follow Me.” rather than the Angry Christ who took personal offence when the money changers and other merchants desecrated His Father’s House, and leave revenge to God!

Just as you catch more flies with honey than vinegar; it may be easier to convince others to follow you when you express your belief with love rather than demonstrate hate for the other's belief, no matter how vile you feel that belief is.

Of course, I would not condemn one for doing what his country’s constitution permits him to do as free expression, so long as the books are bought or donated freely by others for the express purpose of being burned.

Bill Ascherfeld attended


University and graduated from

San Diego

State with A BA degree in Political Science, History and Economics. He served with The Third Armored Division in

Germany in 1956-57 and is currently residing in

San Diego,

California. He can be reached for comment by E-mailing

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