We live in an era of religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, exploited, used and manipulated by politicians, for their own purposes, and used by the media for its own. This has always been a dangerous and toxic combination, inimical to liberal society, dangerous to secular democratic politics, and today, something that can also lead to global warfare and destruction on an unimaginable scale.While anything's possible, it's hard to imagine Pastor Jones' comic opera escalating quite to that extent (though they probably said the same thing when Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, before the worst war in history ensued). I've felt for the last two days that Jones was feeling so much heat that he was looking for a way out, hence his jumping to take a deal that he hadn't even been offered.
He's now implying that he might go ahead with the bonfire after all. The smarter move would be to take the meeting he's evidently been offered with Faisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind Cordoba House in New York City. It speaks well of Rauf's sense of civic responsibility that he's willing to engage with Jones at all in view of the moral inequivalency of their projects. Because Rauf is obviously a class act, Jones has blundered into a richly undeserved moment of respectability. Let's hope his second 15 minutes go better than his first.