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Will you quit making it about freedom of speech?

No, I won’t. Not when people in positions of power to do so, such as Senators Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham, suggest that perhaps they ought to take some sort of action against people like Terry Jones and his congregation for their blasphemy:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says congressional lawmakers are discussing taking some action in response to the Koran burnings of a Tennessee pastor that led to killings at the U.N. facility in Afghanistan and sparked protests across the Middle East, Politico reports.  “Ten to 20 people have been killed,” Reid said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We’ll take a look at this of course. As to whether we need hearings or not, I don’t know.”  Sen. Lindsey Graham said Congress might need to explore the need to limit some forms of freedom of speech, in light of Tennessee pastor Terry Jones’ Quran burning, and how such actions result in enabling U.S. enemies.  “I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war,” Graham told CBS’ Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” Sunday.  

 Andrew Sullivan notes:

And there you have a classic example of how warfare abroad can curtail liberties at home. Koran burning is obviously a disgusting act of disrespect and incivility. But that very kind of act is what the First Amendment is designed to protect. And we should also remember that this war has no end, and that therefore the liberties taken away by wartime are permanently taken away.


It isn't to me either, Gavin. Burning a copy of the Qur'an can be an act of bigotry if it is done out of sheer hate for Muslims in general, as Jones has. Burning the Qur'an can be done as a celebration of free expression if it is done in defiance of threats and censorship. I suppose that burning the Qur'an could be an act of disrespect and incivility it were done simply to be a jerk, but have never heard of anyone doing or advocating that.

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