image courtesy of theinsanityofthesane
Okay, so this is all just a bit ridiculous. Could anyone have made up a more far-fetched story? Here it is in it’s most up-to-date version (as of Friday, September 10 at 6:30 am in Tanzania):
The Reverend Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, and the Dove Outreach Center where he ministers, planned to burn a stack of Qurans in protest of the religion of Islam on Saturday, September 11. The 50-member Pentecostal church and their pastor quickly became international media darlings, selling newspapers everywhere. Christians from all over the world counseled Rev. Jones on what it means to be a Christian — that this book burning is neither Christlike nor a good idea. Politicians and U.S. leaders counseled Rev. Jones on what it means to be an American — that this book burning will only fuel the recruitment of future terrorists and will also trigger Muslim attacks and American casualties.
The Reverend also met with Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of a Muslim group in Florida, and it was during this discussion that he announced his church would indeed no longer be burning the copies of the Islamic holy book. Afterwards he explained this the Imam had promised, in return, to terminate the building of the mosque near ground zero. When Musri denied having made such claims, Jones called him a liar and is now reconsidering the cancellation of his church’s Quran burning — saying that for now he has only suspended the burning.
Okay, so let’s just count the ridiculous happenings in this whole ordeal:
- The proper Christian response to a false religion is to burn their holy book?!
- World media decides that such a response (by a few people) is incredibly newsworthy — like top-news-story-in-the-world newsworthy.
- The actions of this 50-member church are portrayed by many as being the norm for Christianity. This, after all, is just what regular Christians do.
- Christians feel as if they can talk sense into a guy who thinks burning Qurans is something the Holy Spirit has led him to do.
- The Pope himself becomes involved.
- President Obama attempts to persuade the Reverend not to burn the books because “this is a recruitment bonanza for Al Qaida. You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan.” And because Americans are likely to die as a result of Jones’ actions.
- General Petraeus agrees and speaks out about it.
- Many people claim that if American lives are lost, it will be the fault of Rev. Jones and Dove Outreach Church.
- An important Muslim leader in Florida meets with the pastor who wants to burn his holy book, and convinces him not to do so (either with a promise to a halt the mosque project in New York or with a promise of a meeting with the leaders of that project).
- Reverend Terry Jones either believes Muslim leaders would cancel the building of another international new story — er, I mean the mosque in New York — OR he just straight up lies about what Imam Musri promised him.
- So… he reconsiders the Quran burning, but doesn’t put a date on it. [Which could very well be seen as a ploy to keep the spotlight for a few more days or weeks.]
And now for a few short rants. I can’t help it — there is just so much that is crazy going on here:
- What Jesus does Dove Outreach Center read about in the Bible? Are they serious? This seems like a good idea to them? This seems like something Christ would do, or would call us to do?
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
— Romans 12:20-21
- I’ve always thought that verse was strange, because there obviously still exists the desire to put coals on someone’s head (which seems overly harsh at best), but it does make clear that we should overcome evil with good. Not by heaping actual and real burning coals on the holy books of other religious groups.
- Why does the media attempt to portray Reverend Jones’ group as being accurately representative of Christianity as a whole? Why do they refer to Dove Outreach Church as fundamental, evangelical Christianity — yet they refer to those Muslims who would seek to kill others as Muslim extremists? Why can’t this church in Gainesville be Christian extremists? Or why aren’t Muslim terrorists referred to as fundamental, everyday, run-of-the-mill Muslims? Instead, one report I read referred to such people as “terrorist-minded individuals” who kill others.
- And while we’re on the subject of the the media’s portrayal of religion… if Islam is a peaceful religion (as is often claimed), why such the uproar about all the deaths that Reverend Jones is causing? If there are only an extremely small number of Muslims who believe violence is the answer, why will the actions of 50 people in Florida cause riots and death and destruction?
- And do President Obama and General Petraeus (and others) really believe it will be Jones’ fault if people die? I’m not saying I’m in support of what he’s doing, but am I now going to be held responsible for how others react to the things I do and say. Because it just doesn’t seem fair for me to be accountable for the actions of murderers and terrorists. Because they can’t respond in an appropriate fashion, it becomes my fault that they kill others? Really?! If killing Americans were an equal and commensurate response to the burning of the Quran, I’d at least understand the argument (though I’d still disagree). But we’re talking burning books versus killing people.
- As much as I disagree with Dove Outreach Center’s motives and methods, they have every right to burn these books. I guess this comment is probably unprovoked in that I haven’t heard anyone actually saying Jones DOESN’T have a right to burn the Quran. But there were a whole lot of people speaking up for the rights of the Muslim community to build a community center and mosque near ground zero (our president included) and, I think, rightly so. But where are those proponents of free speech now? Check out this incredibly ironic remark:
“If he’s listening, I hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans, that this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance.” — President Obama
- Did Terry Jones really believe the Muslims would cancel the building of the mosque in New York to keep him from burning some books? I realize those books are important, but seriously? Has he read the paper lately — the pressure put on this group, the money offered?!
I’m telling you, we couldn’t make this stuff up. What do you think?
A couple of closely related stories and blog posts:
- a mother’s response to the ground zero controversy
- not near ground zero, they don’t
And a cartoon that speaks a great deal of truth to the situation:
- Jesus and Mo