Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the news. In a naked reach for publicity, Terry Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, announced that his church plans to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of September 11th.
Yesterday, in response, Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, warned that the church’s plans to burn the Quran could endanger the lives of U.S. service members in Afghanistan and would be used by Islamic extremists to incite violence. He’s right. It’s happened before.
Terry Jones is displaying hatred, intolerance, greed and callous indifference to the lives of Americans fighting overseas.
The Dove World Outreach Center claims to be a Christian church. Their website states that “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.” Then in the next paragraph the church directly contradicts the tolerant teachings of Christ with this whopper:
Any religion which would profess anything other than this truth is of the devil. This is why we also take a stand against Islam, which teaches that Jesus is not the Son of God, therefore taking away the saving power of Jesus Christ and leading people straight to Hell.
Lovely, just lovely. According to the DWOC, 70 percent of the world is going to hell. And apparently they don’t understand the teachings of Christ any more than they understand the teachings of the Quran. I hate to paraphrase an Indiana Jones movie, but maybe they should try reading books instead of burning them.
Then we add in the callous indifference displayed by Terry Jones and his church to the lives of Americans serving overseas in Afghanistan. General Petraeus is undoubtedly correct; this publicity stunt will be used as a rallying cry among Islamic extremists. Americans will die as a result.
I say that this is a publicity stunt because it is. Terry Jones is hawking copies of his new book, Islam is of the Devil, front and center on the church’s website. (I’m not going to link it. You can find it pretty easily if you’re that motivated.) He is apparently willing to trash the ideals of the Constitution, religious tolerance, the free exchange of ideas and American lives so that he can make a buck and spread his message of hate.
The irony of all this, of course, is that while Mr. Jones is busy stomping on the ideals of this country, the very Americans he’s endangering are off fighting a war for him. This isn’t political, it’s reality. My sailor husband, my soldier brother and my airman father and their fathers before them all swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So that Mr. Jones could be free to burn books at his leisure.
I hope that Terry Jones and his followers are right and that they will be judged by their God. Because I have a feeling that they will be judged harshly.
Stephanie Himel-Nelson is lawyer and a proud military family member. She blogs at Lawyer Mama.
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