Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, Gainesville, Florida has hanged an effigy of Obama from a gallows in front of his church. He says his action is in response to Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage and stance on abortion.
Broward Palm Beach News reports that U.S. Secret Service is investigating the incident. According to U.S.Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary, "The Secret Service is aware of this incident and will conduct appropriate follow-up."
According to The Huffington Post, the effigy is suspended from a makeshift gallows with a yellow rope noose. A doll is in the right hand of the effigy and a rainbow colored gay pride flag on the left. An "Uncle Sam" dummy stands at the base of the gallows. A trailer nearby has the printed message, “Obama is Killing America."
The Huffington Post reports that Jones explained that he had shown the Obama effigy hanging "Uncle Sam" when the display first went up about two weeks ago, but the positions were changed on Wednesday.
Jones said the gay pride flag calls attention to Obama's stance on same-sex marriage and the doll calls attention to the fact that Obama favors abortion.
Jones said that radical Islam is "the most dangerous threat to life and national security in America."
The Broward Palm Beach News reports that a spokesman of the church confirmed that the effigy is real and offered printed news releases from Jone's new movement, "Stand Up America." One of the news releases had the headline "Terry Jones on Obama -- Hang 'Em High."
According to The Broward Palm Beach News, the release says Jones will be holding a news conference today to announce that he is running for president. Broward Palm Beach News reports Jones says in a YouTube video:
We have chosen to hang President Obama as a symbol of what America needs to do. We must remove him; we must vote him out of office. President Obama is killing our nation. We have hung Uncle Sam to represent that....
President Obama's policies on same-sex marriage, his policies on abortion, President Obama has no problem killing babies. He has no problem supporting radical Islam, he has no problem supporting and giving financial support to the Muslim Brotherhood.
It is time for the United States to stand up. It is why we have chosen the hanging of Uncle Sam to represent how Hussein Obama is destroying our nation. And that is why we have now chosen the hanging of Hussein Obama to represent how the American people must, in a peaceful way, stand up and reject President Obama, reject his anti-American policies. It's time for us to stand up.
It is time again for America to become America, for us to hold our government accountable, for us to resist, for us to send a very clear message to Washington, D.C. and President Obama...That is why we have chosen to hang President Obama as a symbol of what America needs to do. We must remove him, we must vote him out of office.
This is not the first time publicity-loving Pastor Terry Jones is courting controversy with his actions. He drew international attention in 2011 after he burned a copy of the Qur'an in public. His action sparked off three days of violent rioting in Afghanistan in which, at least, 21 people died, including seven U.N. workers. Jones burned the Qur'an despite entreaties that he should consider the safety of U.S. military personnel, Americans living abroad and global American interests.
This is also not the first time an effigy of Obama has been hanged publicly. According to The Huffington Post, in March 2010, a teacher at a Rhode Island school hanged an effigy of Obama in his classroom. Soon after, another dummy of the president was found hanging on Main Street in the Georgia hometown of President Jimmy Carter.
The Huffington Post reports that in 2009, a Kentucky grand jury refused to indict two men who hanged an Obama effigy on the campus of the University of Kentucky.
According to The Smoking Gun, the DWOC has come under criticism that its organization has "cult-like" characteristics. The Smoking Gun reports that the church's Academy Rulebook, reportedly written by Jone's wife and published in 2007, instructs prospective ministers to cut off contact with family members. The rules warns that “Family occasions like weddings, funerals or birthdays are no exception to this rule. No phone calls. Exceptions can be made under certain circumstances but only after receiving permission.”
Critics of Pastor Jones point to the insensitivity of his action in the context of a long history of extrajudicial mob actions in the U.S. targeting black people from the late18th century through the 1960s. Most of the lynchings took place in the southern states from 1890 to the 1920s. Loon Watch comments that "by hanging his (Obama's) effigy he (Jones) was essentially provoking comparisons to the lynching of Blacks."
Imani Gandy ("Angry Black Lady"), writing in the The Raw Story, also criticizes Jones with an allusion to the lynchings. She comments: "...if there’s one thing that goes together like Twinkies and cream (in America), it’s a black man with a noose around his neck"