Pastor la vista

Do you remember the pastor Terry Jones? You know, the leader of a small church in Florida who became international news back in September when he threatened to burn a copy of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11? Remember him?

No, of course not. I’d forgotten all about him too. He’s back in the news, however, as he has been invited to attend an English Defence League rally in February.

Now home secretary Teresa May is considering whether or not to use powers available to her to forbid him from entering the UK if it is considered that his visit is either not conducive to the public good or threatens national security. Well, it certainly ticks the first box – we need another ignorant demagogue like we need anthrax in the water supply. As for threatening national security, if the media had just ignored him in the first place he would never have even been heard of beyond his congregation of fifty – yes, fifty – people. He is not a threat of any kind, he is merely an idiot whose views have been given publicity.

Why was he ever elevated to international news in the first place? If I rang up the national news agencies and said I was going to perform such a stunt I would be rightly ignored. Yet some irrelevant hick calls himself a pastor, threatens to burn the Koran and he gets TV crews camping outside his house. Who was taking him seriously and why?

The same logic should be applied here. We cannot – unfortunately – deny people access to our country simply on the basis that they are stupid and ignorant. Nor can we deport people for this reason. Which is a pity because the English Defence League would be near the top of the list if we could. Teresa May should just be informed that an idiot from America wants to come to the UK and talk to a small crowd of other idiots. She should sigh, then get on with some real work. No further action necessary. Indeed, banning him from coming here will make the story global and be seized as a victory (“look – now a Christian cannot even go to the UK and talk”).

Unfortunately we are now guaranteed that this will be a huge story in February granting Mr Jones and The English Defence league an enormous amount of entirely unwarranted publicity.

Other protest groups are already getting prepared to take action thus further ensuring that a small rally of idiots gets international coverage rather than universal indifference. Here’s Weyman Bennett of Unite Against Fascism:

Terry Jones is coming here to whip up Islamophobia and racism. We intend on calling a mass demonstration where everyone can oppose the growth of racism and fascism in this country.

He won’t be able to ‘whip up’ anything if we all just do the sensible thing and ignore him. Instead of calling a mass demonstration, why don’t you and all your members do something useful like, oh I don’t know, go to work? By the way, neither racism nor ‘fascism’ is on the rise in this country, even though it is in your interests to make people think it is. This kind of piffle doesn’t help either.

This ‘rally’ should go ahead in the way it deserves – in a news vacuum. Idiot from USA talks to idiots in UK should not be a news story.


Centrist. Atlanticist. Dry liberal. Anti-totalitarian. Post-ideological pragmatist. Child of The Enlightenment. Toucan.

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One comment on “Pastor la vista
  1. ph says:

    Seldom do I agree with your views relating to matters spiritual, but in this case you are spot on. I was puzzled first time around about all this. You had a chap from who leads handful of loons from a 'home-made' church in the town of Nowheresville, in the state of WhoCares who decides he may or may not burn the Koran. The whole of the Western World's body politic, the Islamic world from head to toe and the world wide media went into melt down.The politicians are pathetic and many in the world of Islam love to spot a slight – it gives a boost to their creed of hating. It wasn't as though the Arch Bish. of Canterbury was desecrating the Koran on the steps of Canterbury Cathedral as a part of his Easter sermon.The Home Secretary should just yawn and say that she does not care whether this chap turn up not, she has more important things to do.

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