Wednesday, September 08, 2010

International Burn a Koran Day

A Gainesville pastor plans to stage a publicity grabbing event on the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Dove World Outreach Center is a small evangelical Christian church with a membership of just 50. The center of the controversy is the act itself - to burn Korans, the Islamic holy book. The pastor, Terry Jones, has named the project "International Burn a Koran Day". He claims it is "a message of warning to the radical element of Islam", according to an article in The Washington Post.

Jones now carries a pistol in response to the more than 100 death threats he has received so far. He states that the church is firmly committed to carrying out the event but is also "weighing the situation".

General Petraeus weighs in on the planned event:
"It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems," Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement. "Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."

So does the Obama administration spokesperson:
The White House also condemned the Florida church's plan, with press secretary Robert Gibbs reiterating Petraeus's contention that U.S. forces could be put in harm's way as a result.

And, the State Department, too:
"State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the proposed demonstration "un-American" and said it was "inconsistent with the values of religious tolerance and religious freedom."

Jones says he agrees with General Petraeus about the potential for provocation of violence. And, in Kabul, protests have begun. Jones was burned in effigy as a crowd of about 500 chanted "Long live Islam" and "Death to America". Various local politicians and members of parliament spoke to the crowd. Some began to throw rocks as a U.S. military convoy went by but they were ordered to stop with a threat of arrest by the speakers.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul released this: "The United States government in no way condones such acts of disrespect against the religion of Islam, and is deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups."

It is a mistake, especially as a nation at war in a strongly Muslim country - Afghanistan - to provide Jones with publicity. The media and General Petraeus have brought this misguided man far more fame than he would have ever achieved without such a drastic display. There are kooks residing within all groups of people. This pastor is just as obnoxious as anyone who would burn a book. Any book. How would he be able to criticize the burning of The Bible in the future if he moves forward with burning a Koran? Or a Torah? All religious books are protected in the very freedoms for which soldiers are fighting in places like Afghanistan. Those who wish to kill us over religious differences do not deserve the elevation to victim by those who would allow that due to their own selfish indulgences.

Perhaps Pastor Jones needs to pray a little harder.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jones in an interview aired Tuesday night on ABC, answered a question asked by the interviewer. The question was, "What would Jesus do?" Dr. Jones answered that he expected that Jesus would indeed burn the Koran. My challenge is this: If you, Dr. Jones, truly believe that, first, God has told you to burn the Koran publicly, and, second, that you believe that Jesus would have done the same, then, let your words be backed up by proof. Pile the wood that you have, stack the Korans that you have gathered on the wood, and then step back. Let God do the burning. You claim that your actions are Biblically-based, then let the God of the Bible do His own judgment, if He deems it important. The lives of our military and innocent people are being put at risk by your planned actions. With all the media that would be present on Saturday, if fire came down from the skies and burnt up your wood pile with the books thereon, then no one could question the justification for the act.

This challenge is very Biblical and therefore fair. Beside the well-known event of Elijah versus the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel (I Kings 18) where lighting the sacrifice was done by God to show His power, there are several examples of God's use of fire to show His judgment and/or anger. Examples include God burning the men who rebelled against Moses (Numbers 16), and God burning Aaron's sons who brought "strange fire" before His altar. (Leviticus 10). Also, Elijah is involved in two burnings in a single incident found in II Kings 1. It is evident that Elijah's legitimacy as a prophet of God was in question. Twice Elijah calls fire down upon those who questioned his authority. Now each of these examples are found in the Old Testament. The question remains, What would Jesus do? For that we can draw from one event in the New Testament starting at Luke 9:51. In this incident, Jesus' disciples encourage Him to send down fire from heaven, just as Elias(Elijah) did, to punish the Samaritans. Jesus refused to do so.

Dr. Jones uses Acts 19 as evidence that his actions are Biblical. The truth of the matter is that the situations are not equal. In Acts 19, a group of people were converted through the ministry of the Apostle Paul and his team. When they became believers, they burned their old occult books. Paul and the church did not do this, but the converts did. For Dr. Jones to use this passage, it would require that he be involved in the conversion of Muslims who would then themselves choose to destroy the book that they once followed.

Islam is false. The followers of this false religion are lost and in danger of the judgment of God. It is the duty of Christians to reach out and win those who are lost, not to inflame them through the violent act of desecrating the book that they live by. Nothing good is gained by burning the Koran, and the risk is high that harm and death will result.

Dr. Jones, you say that you are praying still and seeking the answer. Listen to God's voice through the counsel of many believers. Do not commit this tragedy.

Susan said...

It's ignorance, plain and simple! That guy is a total lunatic and I shudder to think of the consequences of what he is planning to do. Wish that people could just learn to live and let live.

srp said...

It is not helpful to burn the Koran.
It is also not helpful to hold Klu Klux Klan meetings and marches.
It is not helpful to riot in the streets after an unpopular jury verdict.
It is not helpful to hang effigies of President Bush at the inauguration of Obama or to compare him to Hitler on the floor of the Senate or Congress.
It is not helpful to depict Obama as Hitler in signs.
It is not helpful... but it is still a personal preference to do so.

I don't think any of these things should happen... but they do. To be more outraged at this hapless minister and at the same time to condone or smooth over the horrific hatred spewed at President Bush is hypocritical at best and dangerous at worst.

Karen said...

Roxanne:
So true. Hypocrisy is rampant, now that a far leftist is President.