The notion that it is offensive is implied everywhere, but this argument that what matters is how many feelings are hurt is made explicit by Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin made a statement, which, according to the Huffington Post, ended with this line:
"Our nation was founded in part by those fleeing religious persecution. Freedom of religion is integral to our charters of liberty. We don't need to agree with each other on theological matters, but tolerating each other without unnecessarily provoking strife is how we ensure a civil society. In this as in all things, we should remember the Golden Rule. Isn't that what the Ground Zero mosque debate has been about?"
The easy interpretation is that this is gibberish since nothing Sarah Palin says ever makes sense. Unfortunately, its not. It's a fairly explicit mention of the implicit principle that we should not offend each other. If we should "do onto others as you would have others do onto you" then, according to this argument we should not offend people, since we would not like to be offended. Aside from my previous comment on this matter (namely that if you're offended by justice, you deserve to be offended) I would like to add a few things. First of all, I can claim that I am offended by just about anything, and according to this rule, we must censor it. If I am offended by vanilla ice cream, everyone should stop eating it, according to this principle. Obviously, this makes no sense.
Therefore we must place the onus on words and actions themselves, not how others feel about it. In this example, the pastor in Florida, Terry Jones, has decided to burn Korans. The act is inherently a statement of hate. How people feel does not change the fact that this act is intended to paint over a billion of the world's people as evil. I would say that this is simply because of their religion, but Islamophobia typically takes on a racist dimension, where it becomes more relevant that you look "Middle Eastern" than it does that you follow the Koran.
Building a community center at ground zero (or even a mosque, which this isn't) is entirely the opposite. It's only taken as a statement of hate if people who want to take ground zero and turn it into a "no Muslims allowed zone" choose to be offended.
Unfortunately, racism isn't limited to lunatic pastors or even Sarah Palin. In part II, I will show why the establishment's argument that burning Korans is "dangerous," is also racist.