PZ Myers posted about the burning of Qur’an by a nutjob pastor in FL. I liked the post very much since it approached the problem from a very logical stand point. However, PalMD thought that PZ was showing lack of empathy.
What I got from PZ's post is that, the overly dramatic reaction to the news from so many people including the president is not the best way to approach the situation.
Pal’s lack of empathy argument goes like this. Some of the poor, deluded people (condescending much?) might feel threatened by destroying something sacred to them and PZ does not consider that from his white, male atheist chair!
US and other western countries have done a lot of destruction of life and property in the Muslim countries (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan), and continue to blindly side with Israel in their efforts to demonize and marginalize Muslim population of Palestine. So, stating that burning a Qur'an is directly going to affect the security of US is a bit of an overstatement. The security of US has been threatened by very material actions of war and exploitation that has been going on for several decades. So, instead of being distracted by the burning of a book, we should concentrate on the real issues. I think this is what PZ is trying to say.
It is true that there is a very strong anti-Muslim sentiment in the US these days. In real terms, the violence that Muslims (well, a very very small group of fundamentalist Muslims) have brought upon US is miniscule compared to what the US and the rest of the western world has done on the Muslim world. The real reason for the Islamophobia is the same as other sorts of xenophobia that is quite popular among the right wing. The main arsenal of right wing politics is the separation of “Us” and “Them”. The attempt to burn Qur’an, the opposition to the Islamic Community Center in NYC, various attacks against mosques and other Islamic centers around the US are all just that. This is to be criticized.
However, bullying by religious groups for anything that happens around the world that is not exactly to their liking is not acceptable. Unfortunately, there has been a growing trend even among the so called atheists and rationalists to pander to the religious people saying that atheists (Gnu Atheists) are being too mean to them. For e.g, the F-Word, a site claims to be the face of contemporary UK feminism had a post about how Jesus was a feminist. There were a few comments to this questioning the voracity of this conclusion pointing out the dubious state of historicity of bible. Zelda correctly pointed out that bible is just a fairytale. This apparently caused great distress to a christian. She argues that calling Bible a bunch of fairytales is showing disrespect to christians. This prompted the author/admin of the site to condemn such actions and lecture about the need to treat the religious sentiments of people with respect and not to criticize.
As an atheists, I do have rights. One of those right is to express my distaste and criticism about religion. I will try to express it without disrespecting the person, but by definition, I do not respect her religion. But, telling me that I should always try not to hurt their feelings about their religion is ridiculous. For I could argue that, them believing in their religion is hurting my feelings, though I would not. You know why? Because I am a rational, mature person.
"Religion infantilizes people. It makes them humorless and blind to others' ideas”
I will end with this nice video.