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article imageOp-Ed: Is it Christian to burn the Qu'ran?

By Frank Kaufmann     Sep 9, 2010 in World
New York - Terry Jones, "pastor" of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida plans to burn Qu'rans in front of his congregation on Saturday, the nine-year anniversary of 9/11.
Is that Christian?
These questions “is that Christian?,” and “is that Islamic?” are not simple. The standards of any given faith are a living thing that require knowledge, study, and wisdom.
Generally speaking, Islam has fewer uncontested centers of authority than does Christianity. That's just a roll of the dice. Each religion has its own style and signature. Authority in Islam, similar to Judaism tends to devolve from devotion and rigor in the blended arenas of theology and a "divine" sort of jurisprudence. It is harder to produce and promote definitive positions as “Islamic.”
Christianity, on the other hand, even though divided thousands of times since the Protestant Reformation, somehow does have genuine centers of representational authority. If someone wants a sense or feel to know if something is “Christian” or not, there are a few pretty sturdy places to look.
Now “pastor” Jones is causing trouble. But a curious kind. There are ironies in the perverse passions of "pastor" Jones. A most interesting one is in the "hijacking a religion" category. For 10 years Muslims have had the immensely unpleasant task of purveying the concept, "Militant violence and the willingness to kill innocents is not Islam. Our religion has been "hijacked" by a small number whose behavior is condemned by Islam." Now suddenly worldwide Christendom scrambles to accomplish the same. "Burning sacred literature, and offending the beliefs of others is not Christian. Our religion is being "hijacked" by some militant whose behavior is condemned by the Bible."
Of the 2.2 billion Christians on earth, the Dove World Outreach Center boasts 50.
Now, what if some random fellow of equally massive insignificance as "pastor" Jones situated in some Muslim village about the size of Gainesville Florida (pop. 124,000), say 'Aṭbarah, Sudan (same population) managed to convince around 50 people, (about one or two families in his clan) to burn Christian Bibles this coming Saturday. How would things be going in that regard? My guess is that those Bibles would come and go with nary a Christian on earth ever hearing a word about it. But even if Christians DID find out about some nut with matches in 'Aṭbarah, or Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia (same population) what would be the reaction of Christians worldwide? My guess is that the reactions would be physical, involuntary, from the chest up, would last on average 2 - 3 seconds, and life would go on. I am quite sure almost all 2.1 billion Christians would shrug their shoulders, maybe scratch their heads, or a really passionate believer might go so far as to actually SHAKE her head.
Not so when " pastor" Jones," a former hotel manager, missionary and seller of used furniture on eBay, who often packs a pistol on his hip when he preaches to fewer than 30 parishioners, wants to burn Qu'rans.
What happens when “pastor” Jones wants to burn Qu'rans? Is the “Christian” reaction,
“Hey it's not our book, the guy's a provocateur, beliefs out in left field. Can't be bothered.”? Are Christians shrugging their shoulders? Scratching our heads? Even going so far as to SHAKE our head?
NO! That is NOT the Christian reaction to a massively insignificant individual who wants to burn books from somebody else's religion.
What “Christians” then are bothering with Mr. Jones and his band of 50 people in Gainesville?
The Vatican.
The Vatican on Wednesday denounced as "outrageous and grave" plans by a Christian minister in Florida to burn copies of the Koran to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary.
The Vatican office responsible for relations with Islam issued a stern statement saying every religion has the right to expect that its sacred books, places of worship and symbols will be respected and protected.
The US State Department and the US Secretary of State
"Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, led condemnation of the planned burning, describing it as a "disrespectful, disgraceful act". A state department spokesman called the planned protest "un-American".
Later in the segment, Chetry turned theologian and quoted Scripture to Pastor Jones as she continued to question his planned action: "What about turn thy cheek? I mean, this is- you know, Christianity at its most- you know, refined. It's that you just don't act out in violence. You don't act out in any manner of hate, that you turn thy cheek, that you don't rise to the nastiness or the level of payback that your perceived enemies do. I mean, isn't this the exact opposite of what Christ taught all of us to be and to do?"
And the president of the United States.
But this is not all.
I am involved in an extensive network of Christian Clergy and Christian activists nationally and locally, working literally around the clock (I got a missive to review last night at 11:30 pm) to prevent this calamity.
Here are how some of the private, behind the scenes efforts going on:
Hi Rory,
We have a group of senior pastors going today to talk with him, a large number of believers planning on being in visible opposition on Saturday. The authorities are already restricting access to the neighborhood to people with proof of residence there. No outsiders allowed in the area at all. Hard to believe the hornet's nest stirred up by the media over 50 small town bigots that should have been ignored altogether for the sake of selling newspapers.
The media have played right into the hands of Satan, fostering hatred, Intolerance and probably murder before it is all over. We are taking out full page ads in major newspapers with our viewpoint, because the chances of the media giving us a hearing or reporting another side of the issue is nonexistent.
Hi Carl,
Thanks for your tireless networking and mobilizing. We all appreciate that. And thanks to Martin for the article by Ayman Ibrahim.
It seems to me that the Qur'an burning pastor issue is a much bigger one than people realize. Just today Gen. Petraeus said that it will endanger US troops. The truth is, it will lead to bloodshed of Muslims and Christians everywhere.
Now, there are lots of Christians and Jews who are joining Muslims to denounce this evil plan.
In my mind, the most powerful way that Christians could advert this insanity, since Pastor Jones will not listen to reason, is to plan some kind of powerful symbolic nonviolent resistance. Could Christians show up to the church, but throw themselves on the bonfire before someone lights a match? Could they join hands to form a cordon around the bonfire? Could they hold on to church members trying to throw Qur'ans into the flames, all the time shouting "in the name of Jesus, we beg you not to do this"? This is the kind of powerful response from Christians that might stop the imminent spiral of violence that will spring from this mean-spirited deed.
Of course, time is very short now to organize such a response. But some of you, especially those in the US, may be able to rally contacts to respond in time. This is really a hugely important thing. A few key Christians could make the difference in how this event is perceived around the world...
What do you all think?
What's going on here?
Christians seriously talking about throwing themselves on bonfires! To protect what? The Qu'ran! Full page ads? We know what those cost. For what? The Qu'ran.
It is incumbent upon every decent and conscientious Muslim to act swiftly and effectively to disseminate by all means possible the lengths to which Americans and Christians worldwide are going to protect and honor the Qu'ran.
The reaction to these misguided machinations of a lonely soul should be seized by Muslims worldwide as an opportunity to hail our Christian brethren as friends, heroes, and champions who honor God, faith, and the sacred.
As of Wednesday “pastor” Jones is on record saying “He [has] left the door open to change his mind, [and that] that he is still praying about his decision."
We should do the same.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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