Commentary: Aiding our enemies with intolerance

That buffoonish minister in Florida who's urging Americans to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has gotten exactly what he wanted.

Worldwide attention. Sort of makes him the Sunshine State equivalent to our own minister of hate in Topeka, don't you think?

No, I won't mention that idiot's name, either.

But following the same pattern, his counterpart in Gainesville has again shown that spouting evil in the name of God is an effective marketing strategy.

Though in this case it is an even more dangerous form of lunacy. As the allied commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, said the other day, displays of intolerance toward Muslims only work against American self-interest.

After all, aren't al-Qaida and the Taliban always saying that we in the United States are engaged in a war against Islam?

What better way to feed that propaganda machine than to have Americans cooperate by burning copies of the Muslim holy book, torching mosque construction sites and having politicians like Newt Gingrich comparing Muslims to Nazis?

You can't make that stuff up. Or you can, but fact is more convincing than fiction when one is trying to sell the Big Lie.

A Kansas City area pastor by the name of Thom Belote made that point in a humorous way this past Sunday to his congregation at the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church.

To spoof the paranoia that's fueling anti-Muslim sentiment, Belote visited the Country Club Plaza. And there he found evidence of "the secret Islamic plot to take over Kansas City."

See, that's not just any Spanish-influenced architecture they've got there. It's Moorish.

You know, Moors — as in the Muslims who controlled Spain for centuries.

"Sometimes humor is the best revealer of the truth," Belote said when I asked the point of his satirical slide show, which you can see by visiting http://revthom.blogspot.com/

Funny. But along with it, Belote posted the far more serious sermon he delivered that day.

It builds upon the theme Petraeus outlined. The growing intolerance we're witnessing toward American Muslims is providing a service to our enemies abroad.

It also goes against our values as a nation.

Sermons like Belote's will never get the kind of notice the Quran-burning space cadet has gotten.

But I sure wish other non-Muslim clerics would speak out against religious intolerance in their churches and synagogues this weekend. Wouldn't you?

It might take some of the spotlight away from the haters on this ninth anniversary of the terror attacks.

Remaining silent allows them — and the terrorists — to define who we are.