Friday, September 10, 2010

You Never Can Win With A Bigot

A few years ago, Mad Magazine had a section called "You Can Never Win With a Bigot". The first scene of each cartoon showed a common, stereotypical, bigoted rant, and when confronted with a contradictory behavior, the bigot would shrug it off with another ignorant comment.


The cartoon above is one example. Another example: A waiter tells another waiter that a table of "lousy, penny-pinching" Jews will stiff him on the tip. But when the Jews leave a very generous tip, the first complains, "Why shouldn't they? They got all the money in the world!"

I was reminded of these Mad Magazine cartoons while reading this NewsBusters article about Chris Matthews. For days, Matthews has been complaining that Republicans have been too quiet on the Quran burning issue.

But after Sarah Palin does speak out against the Quran burning yet defending the Church's Constitutional Right to do so, Matthews complained:

I think it`s incredible that she would be so soft -- taking such a soft line on this guy burning the Koran, because you never attack to the right when you`re on the right. That's what I think is going on here.

He later accuses Palin of aiding in the Quran burning by linking it to the Ground Zero Mosque.

As Mad Magazine noted more than 30 years ago, you can never win with a bigot.

For the record, this is what Sarah Palin had to say about the Quran burning:

Book burning is antithetical to American ideals. People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation - much like building a mosque at Ground Zero.

I would hope that Pastor Terry Jones and his supporters will consider the ramifications of their planned book-burning event. It will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance. Don't feed that fire. If your ultimate point is to prove that the Christian teachings of mercy, justice, freedom, and equality provide the foundation on which our country stands, then your tactic to prove this point is totally counter-productive.

Our nation was founded in part by those fleeing religious persecution. Freedom of religion is integral to our charters of liberty. We don't need to agree with each other on theological matters, but tolerating each other without unnecessarily provoking strife is how we ensure a civil society. In this as in all things, we should remember the Golden Rule. Isn't that what the Ground Zero mosque debate has been about?

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