Back in September I commented on the threats by Terry Jones, Pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida to burn a copy of the Koran in protest of the construction of an Islamic community center containing a mosque a few blocks from the World Trade Center site. Well, after considerable pressure, he backed down, much to the relief of, well anyone interested in stability in Afghanistan.
Well, Mr. Jones (sorry, I can’t hold this man in any form of reverence) decided to “put the Koran on trial.” On March 20, he donned judicial robes and burned a Koran. The event was streamed live on the internet with Arabic subtitles. On Friday, Islamic extremists retaliated by attacking a UN facility in Northern Afghanistan. 11 people, including seven UN workers were killed. Another 9 were killed in rioting in Kandahar today.
First I, I’m sure in concert with the vast majority of sane people in this world, including Muslims, want to unequivocally condemn the violence that has resulted from this action. There’s no excuse for killing people over a book burning, even if it is a holy book.
Now, as for the coward, Mr. Jones. He “put the Koran on trial?” Who does he think he is, placing himself in the judgment seat and declaring an entire religion “guilty”? The last time I checked, that kind of judgment is reserved for God. Cowardly, though it was, Jones’ display appears to have been legal and is constitutionally protected speech. He had a right to do it. As an American, I must defend his right to take this obnoxious and deadly action. But I also need to use my rights to speak out about it. Jones’ act was not a Christian one. Christians are not called to desecrate rival religions or to declare a judgment against them. We’re not called to enrage extremists to kill innocent people. Now, I’m sure Jones will smugly sit there and blame everything on the Islamic extremists and not take any responsibilty for the 20 individuals who lost their lives, the twenty families that now must go on without a loved one.
Was it worth in Mr. Jones? Was it worth it to make your silly little point? Did it make you feel like you accomplished something, or are you just looking for your 15 minutes?