Wednesday, September 8, 2010

reaching out with hate.

About a month ago, Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida announced the church would host the first International Burn a Quran Day on Sept. 11. Jones is opening the church doors from 6 - 9 p.m., inviting the public to join in a book burning of the holy Islam text. Dove World Outreach Center, a New Testament Church, is known for its conservative views, gaining notoriety in recent years for its anti-Islam and anti-LGBT messages. The church has also been vocal supporters of the Westboro Baptist Church - and that says almost everything you need to know.

Jones and the Center have been criticized heavily since announcing the plans. General Petraeus warned that this action would ultimately hurt American troops and citizens worldwide. And let's be honest: Americans already don't have the greatest world image.

"Maybe instead of addressing us, we should address radical Islam and send a very clear warning that they are not to retaliate in any form," Jones said to the Associated Press.

Lawyers have confirmed with Jones that burning the Quran is protected under the First Amendment.Which begs the question: Just what isn't considered "free speech"? You can't yell "Fire" in a crowded theatre, but you can stand up in front of a congregation and preach that all of Islam worships the devil.

And then there's the concern that's best summed up in a phrase I read a couple of months ago: "Free speech for me, but not for thee." When it comes to our beliefs and convictions, it's difficult to be objective. So here is Terry Jones, ready to send a pile of books in smokes up into the sky, but if the tables were turned and those were Bibles on fire...then what?

Jones says God is leading him to do this, and this is just a clear example of someone not wanting to take responsibility for his stupidity. And if this is the kind of God that Jones says is the "right" God to worship or else eternal damnation is in the future, then I'll take my chances and stick to my own beliefs - or, rather, non-beliefs.

Rev. Nancy Dann at a rally in support of Muslim Americans.
(AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
If you haven't seen Louis Theroux's documentary on Westboro, The Most Hated Family in America, you can watch it here. (Side note: I love Louis Theroux.)

Update, 09/09/10: US pastor Terry Jones cancels Koran burning | BBC News

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