All right, all right. In response to overwhelming demand, I will explain the connection between pop, candy, and the Koran.

There’s been a big hullabaloo over at Guantanamo Bay. The soldiers/guards there have been accused by prisoners of mishandling the Koran in various ways. One guard, for example, allegedly stepped on a prisoner’s Koran.

There is only one possible response to this.

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

That’s the big complaint? That the Koran got stepped on? Not that these people have been held prisoner for years without charges or access to counsel? The book?

I understand that people have strong, deep feelings about the content of their religious texts. I understand that a bible that has been in one’s family for generations has intrinsic value in addition to the content. What I can’t understand is investing so much meaning in a mass-produced book that is handed out to political prisoners. When you come right down to it, the Koran that got stepped on is a pile of cheaply bound paper. It is entirely replaceable. It was not hand-transcribed by a holy man. It was run off by the tens of thousands on a press.

If you attach unwarranted value to material objects, you make yourself unnecessarily vulnerable. It’s like allowing the taunting of school yard bullies to destroy you. You are giving them space in your head, rent free. You don’t have to care what the bullies say, and the guards can’t touch the holy words in your heart. The book is just a book. Islam cannot be so fragile that so trivial an insult could destroy it.

So what does this have to do with pop and candy? (See previous post.) The conclusion is the same: people are easily distracted by trivial concerns and fail to notice the important ones. The wacky mom at the school I used to work at got all bent about a minor restriction on classroom behavior. She failed to consider the very good reasons for restricting pop and candy consumption in class or the fact that the students had agreed to those restrictions; and she made a big point of sucking huge amounts of staff time and attention away from the business of teaching children.

The public got bent about the outrage of a guard stepping on a Koran, without giving a moment’s thought to the outrage of the U.S. holding political prisoners indefinitely.

Trivial distractions get in the way of real business.

Carry a pocket knife at all times. Use it often to cut through the cobwebs of distraction.


15 thoughts on “

  1. The story I heard had them flushing the holy book down a toilet… My question is what the hell kind of monstrous toilets do they have at Guantanamo Bay???!!!
    “It is entirely replaceable. It was run off by the tens of thousands…” Kind of like our flag?Hmmmm…

  2. I agree with RachelsMommy–this reminds me of the flag controversy.  We should be respectful of religious and cultural symbols, but in the long run they are still material objects.  You’ve made a good point (once again)!

  3. “Carry a pocket knife at all times. Use it often to cut through the cobwebs of distraction.”  Incredibly great line…I fully entend to steal it. Thanks for the second part of the post, well said.

  4. You meet any Muslims who believe and how they are taught to worship and believe me disgarcing the Koran in their mind is sometimes worse then being held indefinitely…

  5. Yep, cut through the fluff. 🙂
    I’m impressed that you held that one in your head for that long.  Usually, if I don’t tackle an idea within a few days, it gets pushed out by other stuff. . .Although I DO have a few short essay ideas scribbled on scratch paper from months ago, that I refuse to give up on.

  6. You are so right — I think making a big deal over the small issues is intended to blind people to the bigger issues. Some of us see through that, others like to be told what to think.

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