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Red Letters

Burning the Koran vs. Jesus Gospel of Love

File this under, “What are you thinking?”

Terry Jones, a pastor of a church in Gainesville, FL made national headlines by hatching a plan to burn 200 copies of the most holy book in Islam, the Koran. Book burning evokes images of Fahrenheit 451 and the Nazi book burnings in Germany.

Jones planned it in order to commemorate 9/11.

President Obama called it a “recruitment bonanza” for Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.

Angelina Jolie, visiting the flood-impacted regions of Pakistan was at a loss for words as well.


Sarah Palin tweeted and Franklin Graham intervened. Jim Daly from Focus on the Family blogged about it. Pat Robertson even offered a voice of reason (remarkable considering the firestorm his words caused immediately following the 9/11 attacks).

Even Muslim leaders reached out to Jones.

The American Bible Society ran a full page ad filled with signatories of major religious groups under the Burning the Qur’an does not illuminate the Bible.


Perhaps all of this worked, and that’s why Jones and his church reversed course. Now, the media may have made a mountain out of a molehill on this one. But I have to stand back and wonder at how Jones let this unloving, unChristian, and unJesus idea get so far that the condemnation is near universal.

The Chinese have a proverb: Let a bird fly over your head but don’t let it nest in your hair. It is meant as a caution against ideas that are dangerous or ill-conceived.

Jones let this bird nest in his hair long enough to attract international attention to his church in Gainesville, FL and his “idea” to hold “Burn the Qur’an Day.”


Pastor Jones, What were you thinking? How did you think this idea was consistent with the love of Jesus as lived out in his earthly ministry?

Perhaps most are uncomfortable because it violates that most basic of rules–the Golden Rule–“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” I would prefer to not see the Bible–which I regard as the Word of God–burned in protest of my religious beliefs.

What do you think? Can Jones’ idea be defended on any grounds other than “free speech?” Can you think of a better way to commemorate the 9/11 attack that reflects the height, and breadth, and depth of Jesus love for us?

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posted September 10, 2010 at 11:10 am

The only defensive grounds is free speech.
As a Christian, I don’t support what he’s doing. As an American citizen, I have to support his right to do it because the same right that he has to be an idiot is the same one that protects me proclaiming Jesus. We can’t censor speech that’s offensive to us and expect others not to to do the same to us.

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posted September 10, 2010 at 11:16 am

the real question is, news media what were you thinking, even covering a story as lame as this one is, give me a break….greed is why……it sells….. why don’t they draw as much attention to the orphan and slavery crisis as they did to this story that is really not worth mentioning……

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Kirsten V.

posted September 10, 2010 at 11:37 am

Jones’ remarks were idiotic and ignorant. Under the Constitution he is free to say them, just as I am free to say that I think his remarks were idiotic and ignorant. But to speak and to act are two different things. His “threat to act in a manner inconsistent with public safety” is not, however, protected under the constitution. His words got people riled up and the media had a hay-day with it (because that’s just how they like to stir the pot to raise ratings), and thankfully no-one got hurt. Yet.
If I were to threaten to do something that could potentially cause a public riot, use citizens’ tax dollars to bring in extra law enforcement and SWAT teams, or threaten to DO something that would put human lives at risk (like what happened during the LA riots), you can better believe that it then becomes a matter of government concern and therefore gives them the right to intervene.
So in regards to what Jason said, we can’t censor his speech, but as a people, and especially as Christians proclaiming the Love of Christ, we cannot condone his threats for actions that could potentially threaten the lives of others. Should we beat him up? Throw water balloons at his fire? No. We should pray for him and forgive him, but not rationalize that what he did was okay. That is my opinion, anyway.

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posted September 10, 2010 at 11:38 am

I find it very interesting that some of the same people who are speaking out against this plan are some of the ones who are indirectly responsible for causing it. Those like Franklin Graham, Jim Daly, Sarah Palin, and Pat Robertson have themselves fanned the flames of anti-Islamic hysteria among the Evangelical community to the point where these radical responses are the inevitable result. We should all remember that our words and actions bear fruit, both good and bad.

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lisa shapiro

posted September 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

1 Corinthians 10:23 says “‘Everything is permissible’ – but not everything is beneficial.” Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” And 1 Peter 3:15 says “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Just like some Muslims are extremists, some Christians are too. I pray that Pastor Jones and his congregation realize that we simply can’t show God’s love to people by burning what is most sacred to them.

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Sam Wilson

posted September 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

It always infuriates me to see people professing that they’re Christian doing acts fueled only by hate. I understand he is angry at the terrorists who committed 9/11, we all are, but burning the Qu’ran is not going to just offend those terrorists it’s going to offend all muslims. This could put our troops at an even higher risk than they already face. Just because he has the freedom to do this doesn’t make it a good idea. Under the law I have the right to ride a motorcycle without a helmet or a shirt, but I wouldn’t because that would just be stupid and reckless. What makes me most upset about this is that this man is a prime example of why so many people turn away from becoming Christian, many see us believers as intolerant, self righteous, totalitarian, hate mongerers, and frankly I sometimes can’t blame them. The news so often captures people turning away from Jesus’ teachings and displaying hateful acts such as this Qu’ran burning, and they rarely show Christians serving Jesus rightfully. Bottom line for me is this man is not only displaying hate and ignorance but he is also turning people away from coming to Jesus by his example, way to go Mr. Jones

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Tobeimean Peter

posted September 10, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Has anyone considered that Terry Jones might be mentally ill? His response at the time of deciding not to burn the Koran is more in the line of the ravings of a deluded man than those of a man of faith. Perhaps instead of turning his book-burning scheme into a controversy, it would be more rational to encourage him to seek help.

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posted September 10, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I agree with Sam. We do live in a country where I am thankful for freedom of speak, but as a believer I know we also have another authority, one that tells us we must think of others. Romans 14 says, none of us lives to himself alone. v19-20 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake….” Our perspective is so short term, and we need it to be eternal. If our actions are not helping the other person see God, and would not be drawing them to God, then I think we need to reevaluate. We have freedom of choice, freedom of speech, and we also have the freedom to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself. I am slowly learning to let go of my freedoms and rights so that the glory goes to him and others see that glory instead of me.

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posted September 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Pastor Jones is more than a little
misguided. He has an agenda; which
should be proclaiming the gospel,
but instead is bent on stopping
the mosque near the WTC.
I am surprised the Muslim faith
would sent agents to reason with
him, because he is not a reasonable
man!! I am more surprised that
Jones would rely on their word,
for they are no honorable men!!

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posted September 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Pastor Jones is more than a little
misguided. He has an agenda, which
should be proclaiming the gospel,
but instead is bent on stopping
the mosque near the WTC.
I am surprised the Muslim faith
would send agents to reason with
him, because he is not a reasonable
I am more surprised that Jones
would rely on their word, for they
are not honorable men!!

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Rodger D

posted September 11, 2010 at 8:07 am

I think we all should look at what time it is. I’am not saying that the world has come to an end and the Bible was wrote in this day and age. But what it’s said was wrote a long time ago. John could only write in the best way he know how at that time. But I am seeing more then maybe some of you are I don’t want to be the bad guy here but Terry Jones did something that needed to be done. (1) to wake up the Church (2) show the evil that we are overlooking or just not wanting to look at. Eather way even he can’t change God’s will perhaps he is careless and harsh but I will not say he was wrong. Something is about to happen and it not that far off. I do not cherish this life but I do the one to come like me or not I do not hate it’s not in me I don’t know how to hate I never have. We are a part of evil because of sin we can’t wash that off only Jesus can. Our work is to get the word of our Lord to the world. Terry Jones help to put God in the minds of everyone an it should be. It time to bind the Devil so he that is not of God will show them selfs as it is writen. How long will this world play dumb an say it not our fault evil will rize and stur up war I’am not reading from the Bible here. I am just commenting from what I see. The Bible tells us it won’t be a joyride in the last days. Always pray to God and trust in our Lord Jesus untell he returns you cannot change the will or ways of God that all I am saying.

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Rodger D

posted September 11, 2010 at 9:11 am

There is one more thing I would like to say I followed this about Terry Jones very closely on 9/8/2010 it came out loud about what he was about to do so much so that about every one was telling him don’t burn this book on 9/10/2010 Terry Jones said if thay would not build the center there he would put off burning the book so if thay are still going to build that center there then thay lie to Terry Jones an the Devil is revealed an Terry Jones was not wrong think about it please.

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posted September 18, 2010 at 9:53 am

Interesting comments. Perhaps in the whirlwind of controversy there is some truth to be gained. Islam grew as an answer to the disorder of polytheism, intertribal violence and polygamous perversions of the Arabian peninsula and surrounding areas. At the time Christianity in medieval Europe did not have answers as well. Christians in Europe did not even know how to control their own sewage and they were beset with superstitions, not knowing natural laws and science. Islam was able to create a unified civilization which became a harbor for learning and a revival of classical knowledge. This was transmitted to Europe through Spain and the returning crusaders and formed the background of the renaissance. We are still struggling with the rationalism of science versus faith today.
Then as now there are various factions of Islam, some advocating violence, while many others do not. There are also many factions of Christianity, a very few advocating violence, since Jesus forbade it. I don’t see Jesus burning the books of Romans, or Samaritans or any of the other nonjewish cultures. He did speak roughly to a Samaritan woman, to which she responded in meekness. One wonders if he sought a spouse from among this group, and whether it was denied by disbelief of her relatives. He looked for those who would have faith in his messianic mission. The three kings left long ago, and his own family disbelieved him. He was left with the fishermen and those of little status or education, who knew him through the simple pure heart of rough living. “Foxes have their holes, but the son of man has no place to lay his head”. Bereft of support he finally made the ultimate sacrifice with the spirit of forgiveness, as the ultimate teacher, parent and king. The pure light of his sacrifice is a candle that will never go out for all eternity. It illumines our path to be pure teachers, parents, owners and kings/queens.
We are now entering the age of true parents, true teachers, true owners and true kings/queens. However as usually happens in history, there is presently a bumper crop of ripe falsehood and corruption. The false comes before the true. We are and have false owners, parents, teachers and royalty.
We must all repent. We are not enough before God. We all come from false parents going back to Adam and Eve. Even christians who presume through faith to be good, have a bad lineage. Even Muslims who presume through their law to be God’s messengers, have a bad lineage, coming from the enemies of God. Even Jews who presume to be the seed of Abraham and followers of Moses are not foreordained to own any particular piece of land or anything at all, since their bodies came from false parents.
If we all really recognize that we are not from the seed of God and then the only answer is to repent before God. This is the end of the world as we know it, the end of the world made from Adam and Eve, who fell. They violated themselves and all of us through a perverted premature misuse of sexual love, in a tryst under and with Satan. Thus we see the problem of unbalanced sexual and family love throughout history. Their children, Cain and Abel, started the history of violence and war between humans, who are all kin.
In these last days a way has opened up to restore this lineage. God is working the providence of restoration so that we have hope. Let us not waste our life on earth and arrive in the afterlife with nothing to show for our time on earth. Let us cling to God and the good things he has given us, and nurture others in faith and love and purity. Peace, love and purity (bounce back if you lost it).
In Jesus, Bless you.

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Jeremy Myers

posted September 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm

I know I’m late to the discussion….
I just wonder if this pastor was trying to make a point: As offensive as it is to Muslims for him to burn a Quran, that is about how offensive it is to many Americans for the Mosque to be built at Ground Zero.
On a related note…what kind of worldwide reaction would there be if a Muslim Mosque decided to burn some Bibles? I doubt it would even get reported.

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posted September 21, 2010 at 6:55 am

No matter how much violence or hate the koran teaches against non-muslims or christians, christians should show love and forgiveness; this is what Jesus would have done!

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