Why Koran burning deserves First Amendment protection

Sen. Lindsey Graham and others want to ban this legal form of protest. They're wrong

Edward Morrissey

There oughta be a law. When people get angry over some perceived slight or injustice, that is usually their first, unfortunate reaction – that government should impose some fairness where life does not. That's true even in a society that cherishes freedom to the point of enshrining limitations of government specific to the natural rights of free thought, free speech, self-defense, and religious practice, a context that provided a look this week into just how fragile those restraints can be.

There is little to cheer or champion in the actions of Florida preacher Terry Jones, who had earlier threatened to light a Koran on fire, and then did so two weeks ago after a "trial" of the Muslim scriptures. Several days after the burning, riots erupted in Afghanistan, and seven United Nations aid workers were brutally murdered. Instead of blaming the actual killers, or the imams and government officials that incited the riots, media attention instead focused on the book burner – and at least one politician leaped to take advantage of the controversy.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.