11A092 Net, Censored! by Jim Davies, 4/3/2011    

Friday's news was that after a quiet winter, Florida Pastor Terry Jones went ahead and burned a Koran, in response to which Muslim fanatics in Afghanistan murdered twenty UN employees. So yesterday morning, I went on line to check the facts.

All the usual sources reported the murders, and said they followed distribution of a video of the book burning on the Net, which the killers had seen and by which they had been outraged. So I hunted for the video itself. I could not find it. The nearest I found was a still, undated photo of a burning, shown nearby, on Jones' own web page. If you have found a URL that shows the movie, please let me know. (UPDATE: thanks to a reader, who found a movie of the burning here.) I did find one (and only one) place with footage of such a burning, but there was no sign of Jones and no date; foul language was used in its title and YouTube prefaced it with a disclaimer. It appears clear to me that someone has been busy scouring the Net and preventing appearance of the movie at the root of this, er, incendiary story. That has "government" written all over it, though it's also likely that self-censorship is at work, since private publishers may be understandably shy about having Muslim thugs turning up at their office poised to massacre their staff. For example, AP refuses to publish any such images.

When someone refuses to publish, we can note it and decide whether to patronize them in the future; that's fine. They live with the consequences of their choice. But when a third party - government - steps in to decide what you and I can and cannot see, that's censorship, a violation of someone's right to publish and your right to read. It violates our natural, human right of free speech and betrays government's Amendment One "promise" to protect that right. Governments are shown all to be just like the Chinese one, which censors the Net all day and every day, the only difference is the material being censored.

On this Blog, we covered the story last Fall (here, here and here) when Pastor Jones backed down from his plan to burn a Koran on September 11th, after being told that Imam Rauf would speak with him about changing plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero. As I anticipated then, Rauf reneged; the move was a ruse and a swindle to deceive Jones and prevent the burning. Once fooled, twice shy - so Jones did the deed last week. I think; but the world's news industry has conspired with the world's governments to conceal most visible proof of it.

Jones' Dove World Outreach Center published "Ten Reasons to Burn" which I critiqued here, and they deserve to be considered. As I pointed out, these folk are misreading their own Scripture, in Acts 19; the book burning related there was only by recent converts to Christianity who wanted to demonstrate how fully they had repudiated their previous beliefs. The sad part is that the Center has it at least partly right: they are trying to approach Muslims around Gainesville and attract them to their faith. That is exactly how adherents of one religion should approach those of another, and it seems strange to me that apparently very few churches in this country are making it their business to evangelize the several million Muslims among us.

So one of these two religions foolishly aggravates followers of the other by burning its holy book, and the other responds by murdering several unconnected victims. Of the two, I prefer stupidity to slaughter - but fortunately, we need choose neither. A pox, I say, on both their houses - and upon the third, even more dangerous religion that thrusts itself into all our lives, the equally irrational and far more lethal religion called "government." Meanwhile, the bad news is that whenever government really, really wants us not to know something, it has the ability to wipe out all trace of it from the Internet, just as if it had never happened. Orwell's Winston Smith, alas, is alive, well, and living in cyberspace.

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