The Common Good

Quran Burning is a Sacrilegious Slap in the Face of Christ

The extremes now seem to dictate the political discourse -- extremists in caves who invoke their distorted brand of Muslim faith as they murder innocent people; and extremists in a Florida church who want to "send a message" to a billion Muslims around the world by threatening to burn hundreds of copies of the Quran in the name of their distorted brand of Christianity. Not many had ever heard of Terry Jones, except perhaps the few members of the small Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida -- until he declared September 11 as "International Burn a Koran Day." He has promised to start with his church this Saturday. Now even General David Petraeaus has heard of him and on Tuesday said that the burning "would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan -- and around the world -- to inflame public opinion and incite violence."

What Jones doesn't seem to understand is that the message he is really sending is a sacrilegious slap in the face of Jesus Christ. If Jones and his followers go through with their plans to burn the Quran they might as well burn some Bibles too, because they are already destroying the teachings of Jesus. Jesus called his followers to be peacemakers, and to love not only their neighbors but even their enemies; instead Jones and his church have decided to become agents for conflict and division. Jones needs someone to tell him that Americans should not judge all Muslims by the actions of a small group of terrorists and I hope somebody tells Muslims around the world not to judge Christians or all of America by the actions of a radical fringe like the Dove World Outreach Center.

Hundreds of Afghans attended a demonstration in Kabul on Monday to protest the Florida pastor's plans. The protesters chanted "death to America" and some threw rocks at a military convoy, according to media reports from the country. But just like the proclaimed faith of the terrorists bears no resemblance to the faith of most Muslims, the actions of Jones and his followers bear no resemblance to the faith of most Christians. Jones knows that his actions are legally protected, but if he follows through he should know that he makes a mockery of the teachings of Jesus and even puts our country and troops in danger. His fellow Christians need to stop Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach Center from burning hundreds of copies of the Quran on Saturday (and somebody should tell them what a "dove" symbolizes!)

National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson said in a statement, "It sounds like the proposed Quran burning is rooted in revenge. Yet the Bible says that Christians should 'make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else' (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

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