On September 11, 2010, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida is hosting International Burn a Quran Day.
From 6-9pm “Christians” can burn the Quran at the local church. The city of Gainesville has refused a burn permit for safety reasons, however the church has vowed, “BUT WE WILL STILL BURN KORANS.”
Dove World Outreach Center’s pastor Terry Jones is quoted by CNN as saying, “We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it’s causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times.”
Dove World Outreach Center's Pastor Terry Jones
Some other local religious leaders have organized a Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope to occur near the same time to counter this book burning. At least there is some attempt being made to counter the Quran burning. This story is attracting some media attention, and likely moreso as the planned date approaches–assuming the Outreach Center sticks with the plan.
To me, this is appalling. The very concept of this idea is contrary to everything I see the Community of Christ standing for, or atleast what it should stand for. I see this as an attack to an entire religion of people, and just one day after the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan at that. And worse yet, this is being done in the name of Jesus. Shameful.
I’ve been blessed in my life to get to know many people intimately of very diverse religious backgrounds. I have worshipped in Islamic mosques openly before, with no hesitation or concern. I have celebrated Ramadan with Islamic friends three seperate years and endured the month-long fast, multiple times. I know personally of three other Community of Christ members who engaged in Ramadan at least once as well. It is a complete test of mind, body, and will.
I cannot believe that if Jesus Christ was with us at this moment that he would join in or approve of the burning. Same as I do not believe, as others argue, he would join them holding up GOD HATES FAGS signs. This is not the Christ that I’ve come to know. And this is not the Jesus that the Community of Christ knows. I pray this is not the Jesus known by most of Christianity.
We proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace.
We have a special calling, and the world needs to hear the “liberating truths of the gospel.” Jesus is hope, not hate.