Terry Jones is coming to Dearborn, Michigan to celebrate Adolph Hitler’s Birthday on April 22, 2011, but his mental instability is indicated by the fact that he is two days off. Hitler was born on April 20, 1869.
Jones plans to demonstrate against Islam and is hoping for a large turnout of like-minded religious nutcases. Just as Timothy McVeigh hoped to incite racial conflict and blew up the Murrah Federal Building as a means to that end, Jones wants to provoke a religious civil war. He intends to foment a blood-soaked confrontation between militant Christians and fundamentalist Muslims. Not in my back yard! As a resident of Dearborn, I urge the police to bring Terry Jones before a probate judge and have him committed as mentally ill and a danger to himself and others as soon as he steps on Michigan soil.
On two occasions, Jones has incited violence in Afghanistan and other Islamic regions that resulted in more than 30 deaths. Under Michigan law, a “person requiring treatment” may be involuntarily committed to a mental institution. The definition of such a person includes an “individual who has mental illness, and who as a result of that mental illness can reasonably be expected within the near future to intentionally or unintentionally seriously physically injure himself, herself, or another individual, and who has engaged in an act or acts or made significant threats that are substantially supportive of the expectation.” M.C.L.A. 330.1401.
By his unrepentent, blatant insults to members of another religion, Jones clearly wants to cause serious physical injuries. He could exercise his freedom of speech in Florida, from his pulpit–but he is not satisfied with speaking his mind. He insists on taking his vitriol to a place where there is a concentration of Muslims because he wants to see blood shed. The Supreme Court has always recognized an exception to the First Amendment for speech intended to cause injury. The classic example concerns yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. There is no freedom of speech such that a person can incite a stampede or a riot with impunity.
I stated in a previous blog entry that Terry Jones is not stupid. That is not to say he is sane. Despite his bizarre interpretation of “Love your enemies,” it will be hard for many to accept a diagnosis of mental illness based on Jones’s militant Christian fundamentalism.
Most who adhere to a religion find it difficult to recognize or deal with pernicious religious extremism. Religion tends to emphasize ideals over practicalities. “Love they neighbor as thyself,” “Turn the other cheek,” and “Give yourself to [insert name of founder/prophet/savior]” sound inspiring from the pulpit, but they are damnably hard to live by. Religious aspirants always fall short of the ideal and generally carry around a cargo of guilt about it.
When Christians in sweatsuits and flipflops or jeans and Pumas look at a group of saffron-robed monks or tambourine-banging Krishnaites or black-coated Hasidim or burka-draped Sunnis, many are uncomfortable either approving such evident devotion to religion or criticizing the zealotry. They cannot endorse these alien faiths; but they also find it hard to condemn those who apparently possess such great religious fervor because they see themselves as falling short. In Terry Jones’s case there should be no hesitation. He is no more worthy of respect than David Koresh or Jim Jones.
Jones wants people to die, apparently welcoming his own martyrdom. His brand of Christianity hatched out of a malignant egg laid by a delusion in his diseased mind. It is irrational and violent. For his protection and the protection of society, he should be committed and treated. It is unlikely that his mental state will be improved, but on the loose he is a hazard like Mayhem in the Allstate commercials.
John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com ©2011 John B. Payne, Attorney