One applicable Supreme Court ruling came in 1989, when the justices struck down laws in Texas and 47 other states that prohibited desecration of the U.S. flag. That case grew out of flag-burning by otherwise nonviolent demonstrators outside the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas.
Comment by Adamantine:
I was always disturbed by those who would trash freedom claiming they stand for freedom. Freedom is more important than the country, freedom is more important than peace and freedom is far more important than a symbol which in the past represented freedom. If one cannot burn the American flag then it is no longer a symbol of freedom.
True freedom is often unpopular.
The core freedom is freedom of speech. It is essential that one be able to say or depict ones opinions. If one cannot burn a religious book then that book has been held as worthy of reverence. It is one step away from making it an idol which is one step away from demanding reverence for the idol.
I personally hope this pastor stands firm. There is a quote from Lord Byron which reads as follows:
“And so develop a spirit which could against the world in war have stood.”
This pastor may have such a spirit. I hope this pastor stands firm and burns a book. His attempt is not to extirpate the book from the libraries of the world. If that were his purpose then I would oppose him for there must also be a freedom of the press. I find it childish that Islamic peoples anywhere in the world would demand reverence for a bunch of paper glued together. I would never lift a finger to defend the honour of my God or country by demanding others honour my Bible or my flag. It is enough that they honour my freedoms. If they honour my freedoms they are half way to becoming a fellow citizen of my world.
It is enough that they use my freedoms to critique me. That is a high honour.
I could suspect however that someday Christians will lose their freedom because Islam or another such childish group will initiate WWIII over some Christian exercising freedom of speech. If this were to occur from even an event as seemingly unlikely as this event in small town America then we can see that we have world leaders who would squelch freedom of speech in order to assure the peace of the world.
Someday Christians will be hated worldwide possibly because world disorder will be blamed on them. Nero blamed them for burning Rome. Might world war arrive someday beginning from something as unexpected as this? I have no doubt that even most Christians do not support this pastor. Someday most “Christians” will condemn a remnant of Christians for some act. It will likely begin in something other than just taking a mark. The mark will likely simply be a secondary necessity for commerce and for showing control of a renegade group of Christians.
I would not initiate such a book burning but once this Pastor has made his plans he needs now to stand firm. It is the people who would respond in violence to a book burning that are guilty in the first order and those who will not stand up for freedom of book burning who are guilty in a far more subtle but in the end equally destructive manner. In the end if one book may not be burned then who is going to make the comprehensive list of books which may not be torched?
Lastly there are some who are concerned about all of the talk about the Mosque to be built at the world trade center.
Where would it all end? Someone somewhere will always be upset by Christ’s claims to be the son of God and the only way to heaven….especially those such as Islam who claim boldly in gold letters on the Dome of the Rock that God has no son.