There have been lots of angry words over plans by an obscure Florida pastor to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
But State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley pulled out the biggest gun of all on Tuesday in his effort to distance the government from the pastor's incendiary proposal -- he called it "un-American."
"We are conscious that a number of voices have come out and rejected what this pastor and this community have proposed," Crowley told a news briefing. "We would like to see more Americans stand up and say 'this is inconsistent with our American values.' In fact these actions themselves are un-American."
"Un-American" is not an epithet that trips lightly off the tongue for U.S. government spokespeople, carrying as it does the tang of the 1950's witchhunt for alleged communist sympathizers spearheaded by the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center church in Florida presumably doesn't think his book burning plans are un-American, at least by his definition.