Glynn Moore

News editor and local columnist for The Augusta Chronicle.

Burning a book is a poor reason for a fire

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There's been an awful lot of talk lately about burning books. Holy or not, no page deserves to reach the kindling point of Fahrenheit 451. Though constructed of the most fragile of materials, they must endure.

When I was a boy, my mother made it clear that no book, especially a Bible, was ever to be destroyed or its pages harmed. She taught me to appreciate and cherish books.

My wife wishes I didn't cherish them so much, because I hate to part with a single one, whether I've read it once, a dozen times, or not yet. She is a faster reader, and the other night I asked her how many books she has gone through since I have known her. She didn't have a word for a number that large.

Unlike me, however, she sets her books free after reading them, returning them to various libraries or giving them away.

It's not as though anyone ever asks to borrow my books, anyway.

I don't know a lot of people who want to spend the weekend with A History of Dirt or Odd Facts About Even Numbers. (Well, that's what my wife thinks of my reading choices, anyway.)

Would I ever burn a book? Let me count the ways I have considered it over the years.

I'm a little perturbed at the almanac for saying my tomatoes would do well this summer. They did not. Officially, I blame the week we were out of town on vacation because that was the one week it didn't rain and our garden dried up for good. Unofficially, I would like to strangle the almanac's throat.

There was a logic textbook in college that I was at odds with. The professor had written the textbook, and on the first day of class he handed out a list of errata so we could make corrections in our new books.

If I hadn't already bought the book, I would have dropped the class. I mean, if an expert in logic made mistakes in a book that was written to teach me the subject, that class was flawed from the beginning. It seemed to be a case of the illogical leading the illogical.

By the way, those of you who know me might be surprised that I studied logic. I did, and by the end of the semester I had the option of keeping my B grade or risking it by taking the final exam and trying for an A -- or lower.

Was it logical for me to risk what some consider a good grade? Ask Mr. Spock. All I know is that I got my A. I never took another class in logic, though.

If I held that textbook in my hands today, with its corrections scribbled throughout, I might be inclined to put it out of its misery.

Then there have been the books that I would love to collect every copy of and throw onto a huge bonfire -- all that destruction just so I could write the authors' words down afresh and claim them as my own: Twain's Life on the Mississippi. Hugo's Les Misérables. Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Fielding's Tom Jones. Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. Heller's Catch-22. Heinlein's Glory Road. Those, and a couple million more.

No, it's more fun reading than writing, and as soon as I finish these lines I'm going to find a quiet corner and an old book, safely away from the flames.

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chasboy
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chasboy 09/13/10 - 01:40 am
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Burning a book just seems

Burning a book just seems wrong on so many levels. I remember the Twilight Zone episode where Burgess Meredith survives a nuclear war because he was in the bank vault reading. He never had enough time to read but now that he was the only man on earth he had all the time in the world. Until he dropped his thick glasses and they shattered. Those books survived a nuclear explosion. Now that's my kind of book!

Great Column Glynn!

NAAustin
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NAAustin 09/13/10 - 03:01 am
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What's wrong with an

What's wrong with an individual burning a book?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 09/13/10 - 05:01 am
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There's a lot of confusion

There's a lot of confusion about "book burnings." I burned 3 religious books the other day in a protest of sorts that I described in the comments section of the Chronicle and the News Times yesterday. Burning an individual book in protest is hardly the same as attempting to burn all copies of a book in an attempt to ban the book.

When the Nazis burned books they were attempting to rid the country of the particular books. If you had been caught with a Hebrew Bible or a book critical of Hitler later you would have been catching the 5 o'clock to Auschwitz.

Now as a logic exercise let me ask you this. There is NO book you wouldn't attempt to eradicate? The most vile book that advocated illegal and immoral activities of the worst kind, maybe even with pictures? Be careful with absolutes.

Casting_Fool
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Casting_Fool 09/13/10 - 07:48 am
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http://www.foxnews.com/us/201

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/09/10/pastor-imam-odds-koran-burning-deal/

Excerpt from article:

Despite Jones' words, in the Gaza Strip, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said to a crowd of tens of thousands of Muslim faithful that they had come "to respond to this criminal, this liar, this crazy priest who reflects a crazy Western attitude toward Islam and the Muslim nation."

"We came to say, the Koran is our constitution, we are committed to God and his holy book," he said to those holding the texts in their hands at a stadium in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. "God willing, should they try to carry out their crime against the Koran, God will tear their state apart and they will become God's lesson to anyone who tries to desecrate the holy book."

Okay, it's their holy book. It doesn't matter to me if they worship it (like some Christians worship the Bible, which is idolatry, BTW), revere it, or even actually use it as a guide to their religion. But they're not welcome to use terroristic threats to the rest of the world in order to force us to treat it like they do.

Want to burn a Bible, go for it. It's not our God, it's only a copy of His words to us. Thomson/Nelson prints millions of them, we won't miss a few dozen. For that matter, people throw them out every day, leave them on the roof of their cars, or forget them in airports. God doesn't seem to mind this, why should we? His chief concern is that we keep His words in our minds and live by them.

Same for the Koran. It's a book, someone printed it, made a profit from selling it, and very likely couldn't care less what you do with it. After all, they want to keep selling them. If Muslims really believe that it's a copy of their god's words to them, then that's great, too. Let them treat it as their holy book. Let their god deal with the pastor in Florida, without the interference of suicide bombers, hijackers or gunmen. If their god deals with it, fine. If he doesn’t, then I'm sure that Elijah would have a few choice words for us about altars and fire from Heaven.

But let them keep in mind, that it's not our holy book, and that if they keep pushing it, people are going to fight back. No one will become "God's lesson", there will only victims of the violent Islamic response to something that should not even concern Muslims.

And if the peaceful Muslims who are American citizens really want to support their country, then they can start by dealing with the extremists themselves. Turn them in, rat them out, whatever. But show that Islam can be a peaceful religion and not a violent political movement.

And note, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said, and I quote, "... the Koran is our constitution...". Islam is a political movement that masquerades as a religion. They want to spread Islam to the whole world, put us all under sharia law, and rule as the masters. They treat their women as property, as chattels, not worth the respect and love that Christianity teaches to it's followers.

Just look to Britain to see the effect that they have had on it's government and people.

I don't hate the Muslim people, but I truly and vehemently hate Islam when it's used as a political movement, and the words of the Koran are used to support the killing of innocents.

Muslims are welcome to their religion, but they need to clean up the radicals that use Islam to further their political ends. This is America, not the Middle East. If you want to live here, then learn to live by our ideals and laws.

[puts away soapbox]

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 09/13/10 - 07:45 am
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Casting_Fool, you could not

Casting_Fool, you could not have posted words in a better form. Truth and nothing but the Truth. Thanks

Casting_Fool
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Casting_Fool 09/13/10 - 08:47 am
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I mean, for Pete's sake,

I mean, for Pete's sake, you'd think that the extremists were all small children with guns (and bombs.)

"You took my toy!" "You broke my toy!" "You have better toys!" "It's mine and you can't have it!" [Straps on a vest bomb, grabs his/her gun, and heads for the airport...] "Gimme my (or your) toy!"

These guys and gals think that their way is the only way to play with other people's toys. If you can't play with them, kill them all and take the toys for yourself.

They need to be so scared of our response to this mind set of theirs that they never try to take our "toys" (read "way of life" there) by using violence.

Take heed and look to Europe to see what happens when you allow Islam to take over and replace your country's way of life.

I should not have to be afraid that a picture, video, cartoon, statement, destruction of a book, or some other thing forbidden by someone else's religion could result in my family's injury or death. Not in my home country.

Wake up America, before you find yourselves under sharia law, and pine for the days that being an American meant being free to live under American laws.

To my fellow Americans who live by the Muslim faith of Islam, learn to adapt to and live by our laws. Repudiate the extreme views of the Islamics who promote violent solutions to our "failure" to worship as they do.

This is America, it is not "failure" to worship your god or God as you see fit. It is a failure, however, when you try to force your religion on others.

And it truly disgusts me to see how the media and government has treated and labeled the pastor in Florida. To my knowledge, he's not a "nut case." He has a valid point. (though maybe Twitter wasn't the route to go, have to think about that one for a while.)

Why not have the gonads to say that this is America and he has the right to do as he pleases within the law. Isn't this what they're saying about the mosque at Ground Zero? Why is the mosque's location considered okay by our President, but not an American exercising his right to worship as he pleases?

To reinforce my original comment, they're just books. Bible, Koran, the Book of Mormon, etc. They're copies of what we believe are our god's words to us. They're not to be worshiped, revered or treated like they're the god himself. Your suppose to worship your god/God, not the book.

It shouldn't matter what anyone does with them. It should matter what you do personally with the words in them. Live it, don't worship it.

Don't threaten me, my family or my country with violence because we don't worship like you do.

ruudvonbaron
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ruudvonbaron 09/13/10 - 01:39 pm
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Casting_Fool Monday, Sep. 13

Casting_Fool Monday, Sep. 13 8:47 AM Muslims are welcome to their religion, but they need to clean up the radicals that use Islam to further their political ends.
--------------------------------------
The same could be said for most any religion especially Christianity.

uptheseventhplanet
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uptheseventhplanet 09/13/10 - 02:48 pm
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Some acts have dire

Some acts have dire consequences. I burned a Sears and Roebuck catalog once and the next thing I knew Roebuck took his name off the books.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 09/13/10 - 04:34 pm
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I explained my purpose of

I explained my purpose of burning the books in the Columbia County News Times yesterday this way:

My purpose in burning all 3 religious books (the Quran, the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible) was to show Muslims that Chrisitans and Jews wouldn't cause violence if their books were burned. You could even say it was a way to negate the effects of Rev. Jones burning the Quran as he had planned. I wanted Muslims to realize taking offense to a degree that widespread violence and murder is resorted to in protest of a symbolic statement is something peculiar to them and behavior they should examine. The future mosque site was to get their attention in case burning the Quran wasn't enough.

follower
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follower 09/13/10 - 05:39 pm
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If we don't see you on these

If we don't see you on these forums Riverman1, we'll know the Muslims didn't buy your story. ;)

corgimom
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corgimom 09/13/10 - 06:19 pm
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"I don't hate the Muslim

"I don't hate the Muslim people, but I truly and vehemently hate Islam when it's used as a political movement, and the words of the Koran are used to support the killing of innocents."

Like the "Christian" abortion protesters that bomb abortion clinics and murder doctors, perhaps?

corgimom
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corgimom 09/13/10 - 06:21 pm
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"My purpose in burning all 3

"My purpose in burning all 3 religious books (the Quran, the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible) was to show Muslims that Chrisitans and Jews wouldn't cause violence if their books were burned. "

No, in Nazi Germany the Jews didn't fight back, they couldn't. Neither could the Christians.

Riverman, if you think that Jews don't fight when their Torah is burned or desecrated, you don't know your world history very well.

Lank
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Lank 09/13/10 - 06:27 pm
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I'm confused. Was the plan to

I'm confused. Was the plan to steal a Quran from someone and then burn it? If so, stealing is a crime, and you should be punished. Was the plan to buy a Quran and then burn it? If so, you have given your money to someone to print two more Qurans. You lose either way.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 09/13/10 - 10:00 pm
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Corgimom, the point is that

Corgimom, the point is that if you had a book the Nazi's had banned and burned and you were found with one, you would be toast, literally. The other point is that Jews and Christians don't go bananas when their holy books are burned. You have examples of Jews killing people because their holy book was burned?

Lank, I'm sorry you're confused. Keep trying and reading the comments and you may get it.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 09/13/10 - 10:09 pm
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Follower said, "If we don't

Follower said, "If we don't see you on these forums Riverman1, we'll know the Muslims didn't buy your story. ;)"

Ha, those Muslims ain't so tough. I've got some real tough enemies on these boards. :)

Casting_Fool
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Casting_Fool 09/13/10 - 11:46 pm
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corgimom wrote: "Like the

corgimom wrote: "Like the "Christian" abortion protesters that bomb abortion clinics and murder doctors, perhaps?"

Absolutely. It doesn't matter what religion you believe in, killing people just because they don’t believe the same way that you do is wrong. In both of these cases, these groups want to kill people in order to further the political ambitions of their particular religion.

I’d be the first in line to throw the idiots that you mentioned to the executioner. Like we don’t have enough of a problem with Hollywood’s tendency to portray Christians as Bible-thumping psychotics!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 09/14/10 - 09:53 am
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I have no sympathy for

I have no sympathy for abortion clinic bombers either, but that is slightly off topic and actually very rare. In addition, they are punished when caught. But as crazy as they are, they're not going after those of another religion.

Radical Muslims, on the other hand, are killing lots of people simply because of religion. They should understand it's irrational to kill every Chrisitan you can find because your religion is being scrutinized and satirized.

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