I understand that Newsweek’s blunder led to rioting that took lives. But let’s think about this one for a second, shall we?
First of all, if Muslim interrogators in the Middle East decided to flush a copy of the Bible down a toilet as a means for getting a Christian detainee to squeal, I doubt they’d have much success first of all, and second of all, I really doubt the Religious Right would riot over it. Would we be upset? Sure. But guess what. There are lots of copies of the Bible, just like there are lots of copies of the Qu’ran. In the grand scheme of things, is one destroyed book worth the cost of a human life—let alone lives?
Be glad we destroyed your book as opposed to hooking each of your testicles up to the negative and positive ends of a car battery. That’s real torture. But the irony is that pain is a language Middle Easterners would probably understand more easily. They still do public executions in the town squares of Saudi Arabia and several other Middle Eastern states. Decapitation—just like the French used to do during the Reign of Terror.
Yes Newsweek should be ashamed for printing a story without doing the requisite fact-checking, but they certainly don’t take all the blame for this one. These deaths underscore the backwards mentality present in the Middle East. They underscore the religious fervor that supersedes rationality in a land where you can die because someone flushed a book down the toilet. Just saying the words feels a bit ridiculous, like it should be something out of a Saturday Night Live sketch gone awry. But no, it actually happened. That’s actually the world we live in.