Florida church plans Koran burning on 9/11
Floridian Capt. Fogg, in my view one of the blogosphere's finest commentators on the hateful antics of the religious right, may have something to say about this, but I just couldn't let it go without a few brief remarks. Here's the deal:
In protest of what it calls a religion "of the devil," a nondenominational church in Gainesville, Florida, plans to host an "International Burn a Quran Day" on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
"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," Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez earlier this week.
Jones and his church are extreme even by American evangelical standards, and many Christians are joining Muslims and others in opposing this reprehensible event. But there's a reason much of the religious right is referred to as the "American Taliban," and the reason is right here.
The only good thing, I suppose, is that with Jones and Dove the hate is right out in the open -- for all to see, for all to react to, for all to fight against -- including on Facebook and YouTube, where they spread their intolerance. Most of the right's sectarian bigotry, after all, is couched in euphemism or otherwise kept hidden, or expressed indirectly, as with the current conservative attack, led by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, on the Ground Zero mosque (which, as Fogg has rightly noted, is neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero).
Jones and Dove are anti-Islam but also anti-anything that doesn't accord with their extremist Christianity:
Targeting another group it calls "godless," the Dove center is also hosting a protest against Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe, who is openly gay, on Monday at Gainesville's City Hall. The group previously fought -- unsuccessfully -- to derail Lowe's election campaign.
"We protest sexual perversion because the Bible protests it... What is acceptable to today's leadership becomes acceptable to tomorrow's society," the church says in its blog entry about the event.
I am tempted to say that I would like to see the good people of Gainesville rise up and destroy this awful church, or for anti-hate laws to bring it down. But no -- freedom of expression and all that. Instead, all Americans, and all decent and civilized people everywhere, should express their disgust at this expression of hatred, just as they ought to express their disgust at the Taliban and all those like it, and hold Jones and Dove up as prime representatives of the forces of darkness and division that continue to plague our society and threaten the peace and security of the world, from Gainesville to Kabul.