He Did It!
Pastor Terry Jones finally burned a copy of the Koran. You may recall the worldwide media attention that descended upon Jones’ small church in Gainesville, Florida, last year after he threatened to burn a Koran. Cries went out from all corners, including even the U.S. military and government leaders, for him not to do it. It could spark violence around the world as Muslims reacted and put American lives in danger, it was claimed. Jones said he would relent if the Ground-Zero Mosque project in New York City were cancelled. He was reportedly promised a meeting with the leader of the Ground Zero Mosque project and thus called off the burning, only to have the meeting never come to pass.
Well, on March 20th, he finally did it. He burned the Koran and the video footage went viral on YouTube. Over the weekend, violence erupted in Afghanistan at a United Nations complex and the death toll from the weekend topped 20. As expected, Jones and his church are being condemned. And he has received over 100 death threats, some of them very specific, naming the day and place he will die.
The whole situation is ugly.
So what do I think? I think it was ridiculous for Pastor Jones to burn the Koran. He claims he wanted to shine a light and show the radical nature within elements of Islam. But I think we’ve already seen the radical nature of Islam. It was called 9/11. And that one event was preceded and has been followed by bombings and plots all around the world. The Shoe-Bomber, the Christmas underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood massacre, the Little Rock recruiting shooting, just to name a few. We don’t need the burning of one Koran to ignite and thus illustrate the radical nature within portions of Islam.
That said, this whole incident of the burning of this ONE Koran has highlighted some additional ugliness.
- So burning a Koran is widely condemned and Jones is begged to not do it, but burning an American Flag is praised as “free speech?”
- Burning a Koran is an affront to one of the world’s great religions but dipping a crucifix in urine or semen AND asking the American people to subsidize it is “art?”
- And what about the 20+ people that were KILLED in reaction to the burning of ONE Koran. Twenty people who were innocent and had nothing to do with the burning. Twenty people who probably didn’t even have the time to find out why their life was ending? Is there no outrage in these killings for those who actually killed? Is Jones really to blame for these deaths?
- And where is the outrage at the death threats leveled against Pastor Jones and his congregation? In 2009, Kansas abortion doctor, George Tiller, was gunned down by anti-abortion activist, Scott Roeder. There was outrage…at Roeder. There was no outrage at George Tiller. He was seen as innocent even though he oversaw the slaughter of 100s of babies. What is worse: Burning a Koran or killing a baby? In no way am I condoning the killing of Dr. Tiller, but the inconsistency is to staggering to not mention.
Pastor Jones may lose his life because he burned a Koran. Sadly, people will say it was his own fault and those stoking the mass hysteria of violence against him will get a pass.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” This is the calling of those who follow Christ and something we see missing from Pastor Jones’ ministry in particular and radical Islam as a whole.