Sunday, August 01, 2010

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.

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  • Referring to the Christian right as the "American Taliban" is as ludicrous, if not even more so than this nutjob and his church burning the Koran.

    By Blogger Left Coast Rebel, at 1:58 PM  

  • On the other hand, would you object so loudly if an atheist group were to burn Bibles?

    By Anonymous Rhymes With Right, at 3:25 PM  

  • Let's see; the far-right Christians demand that women are submissive to men, that women are incapable of controlling their own bodies, that gays and lesbians should be put to death, and that American laws and the Constitution be aligned with "biblical teachings," which, according to Leviticus, includes slavery and stoning people to death for planting corn next to soybeans. Whereas the Talbian demand that women be submissive to men, that they have no control over their bodies or who they marry, gays and lesbians should be put to death, and Afghanistan should be under strict Islamic law.

    You're right; there's no comparison.

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 5:26 PM  

  • That's right, it's hardly ludicrous to make the comparison. Thank you for putting it so clearly, MB.

    Now, RWR, yes, I would object. Since Christianity is far more prevalent than Islam in our society, and far more politically powerful, that tends to be the focus of those of us who oppose theocracy, but I don't want to see any books burned, including the Bible. I'm not a hypocrite.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 9:45 PM  

  • all christianity are fuck off...jesus is not a son of god...QURAN said

    By Blogger islam lover, at 2:35 AM  

  • if this thing that christanity do so they can make there life so uncomfortable and we also burn lakhs of copppiiiieeeeessssss of the fake BIBLE....WE ARE NOT terrerist and we hate terrerist who take the face of islam to dispoil islam all over the world.....good bye...waithing for 11/9/2010...let see who is powerful...

    By Blogger islam lover, at 2:40 AM  

  • I was going to comment on religion being the catalyst that turns men into beasts, but I hate to belabor the obvious.

    Atheists burning bibles? Which atheists? It's not an organized religion, it's only disbelief in your invisible men in the stratosphere, if that's where it lives. But thanks for illustrating the irrational hostility that calls itself religion and saving me the trouble of making you look stupid.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 9:45 AM  

  • Warning: I like to get people thinking. Sorry 'bout that. Just wondering -- What should a person do to stand up to what they perceive to be evil? Is burning books really so terrible? I mean, the author of this blog says that he is "tempted to say that I would like to see the good people of Gainesville to rise up and destroy this awful church.... Instead,... all decent and civilized people everywhere should express their disgust at this expression of hatred, just as they express their disgust at the Taliban...." Hmm, so we see that but for some legal limitations, destruction of the church would be warranted. Hey, destruction sounds much worse than burning some books, no? Isn't that just a bit inconsistent?! Doesn't the author seem a bit more extremist-sounding than the church; the church doesn't advocate destruction, just book burning. And let's assume that the good people of Gainesville don't heed the implicit call to destruction and opt instead for expression of disgust. How should they go about that expression? Isn't that what the church is doing by calling for a burning of the Koran -- to express their disgust with Islam? Ah, you say that Islam is good and does not merit such expression of disgust, well, apparently the church views Islam differently. Can't reasonable people disagree? The church is not enamored of Islam and wants to peacefully express that feeling by burning some books (keep in mind, book burning is only a problem when the government does it as part of a state-sponsored censorship program or maybe if the books are rare collectors items), even if this method of expression is a bit, uh, inflammatory (yes, pun intended). The author is not enamored with this church, nor for that matter with the Taliban. For my part, then, I would have no problem with the author burning literature published by this church or by the Taliban or both. In other words, the issue is not the nature of the expression of disgust, the issue is at what should one be disgusted. Now, let's get it out on the table and see if only the Taliban warrants expressions of disgust against it (a position that will ironically be shared by the author of this blog and by the church) or if more groups under the banner of Islam deserve expressions of disgust (whatever the forms of such expression would take). We can also consider whether the church and the author warrant expressions of disgust (and you can throw in me and my comment for good measure). I, for one, don't know the answer, but it would be a productive discussion, if one can keep one's emotions in check and focus on the facts.

    What do the other readers think?

    By Anonymous Thinking Man, at 6:16 PM  

  • I won't bother responding to "islam lover." I appreciate the fact that he objects to Muslims who "despoil" his religion, his comments about Christians/Christianity are indeed rather ignorant. (And I say that as someone who dislikes Christianity a great deal.)

    Thinking Man: Yes, I am "tempted," but that's a lot different than following through with violence. I am tempted to want to kill a murderer, and yet I object strongly to capital punishment. It's only natural to feel rage. The question is how you deal with it.

    It's fine to get people thinking, but don't misrepresent my argument. I do not endorse destroying that church, however abhorrent it may be. And I don't endorse it not because there are "some legal limitations" but because, as a proponent of freedom of expression and religion, I do not support destroying churches. There's no inconsistency here at all.

    Can reasonable people disagree? Yes, but that doesn't mean that I can approve of book burning. The Nazis burned the books of their enemies, perceived and real, and that is precisely what this church is doing. No, the government won't be doing the burning, but that doesn't make the burning acceptable. And it won't be a peaceful expression, it will be an expression of hatred that will only further inflame the divisions that continue to threaten to tear the world apart.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 11:24 PM  

  • Mustang Bobby has created a straw man who greatly misrepresents what Christianity teaches. Christians do not "demand for women to be submissive to men," but that wives should submit to their husbands, and that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and sacrificed himself to meet her needs, placing her need above his own. You say that Christians say women are incapable of controlling their bodies, but Christianity teaches that our bodies should be regarded as temples of the Holy Spirit and kept free from sexual immorality, and when a woman is found to be with child that she should nurture that gift of life that is within her and not execute it because it is not "convenient" to have a child at the time.

    Christians don't believe gays and lesbians should be put to death, but that they should repent of their sin like any other person who has chosen to engage in a sinful lifestyle and overcome it through the power of Christ.

    Slavery in the Bible is not the same as the slavery practiced in antebellum America, and it was regulated in scripture, to make sure those engaged in indentured servitude were treated right. The Bible condemned slave traders on both the Old and New Testaments... It was Christian men like William Wilberforce who brought an end to the barbaric form of slavery practiced later in England and America.

    And where do you find people being stoned for planting corn next to soybeans? Then passage about not planting two crops in the same field is, in part, common sense... Moreso it is written against a backdrop of pagan customs where doing so was part of a fertility ritual.. New Testament fulfillment of the law in Christ shows that these principles of separation are lived out differently today...

    The idea of burning the Koran on 9/11 is ridiculous... I can see a Muslim converting to Christianity and choosing to burn the Koran as a symbol of change... And there is a fringe of "Christianity" that focuses attention on the wrong issues, but don't let the hearsay you've been exposed to about the true Christian faith lead you to make wrong assumptions...

    By Anonymous Jim, at 5:14 PM  

  • Don't judge Islam by its people, Islam is the religion of peace and love, just once go through the verses of Holy Quran and try to understand what Allah Almighty has said, Allah punishes the wrong doers Irrespectable of caste and Quran is the wrod of Allah and He said He will protect it till the end of the world, I would request you not to do anything which you will regret it later. Allah punishes them who are against him. Khuda Hafiz

    By Blogger Allah's Servant, at 12:40 AM  

  • Well, there are only two kind of people in the world, good people and bad people and these can be from any religion/country/race/ethnicity. Torah, Bible and Quran are all word of God, and God knows what to do to the one who burns his words. These guys are not doing anything but creating some more enemies for Christians, whites and Americans. One evil act will create even more. I don't know which religion are these people following as no religion allows it's followers to be the judge for others. May God show the ignorants the right path, Ameen.

    By Anonymous PeaceInc., at 7:32 PM  

  • Terry Jones is a mentally ill man ignorant who not know that What was message of the Jesus Christ. He is looking for filthy fame. He is son of a prostitute ask him his father name? he will get annoyed. Try it....
    He wants a religious tension so he could get more money for future plans. He even not respected his father many times. He is some one who don't need attention he can do what he wants. He should forget that Muslims will burn Holy Bible in return to fulfill his father devil dream.... Never Go on Terry

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:04 PM  

  • If Jones and Dove are really serious about what they intend to do..we are ready to see how evil and devilish they can be.How can they think of burning a holy book just because they want to get back at Muslims?Have they even thought of reading the chapters and verses of the Quran to see if it really fosters those acts?Have they thought of the impact their act is going to have on innocent people all over the world?All I can say is that we are ready to see them burn the holy Quran and we shall prove to them that we can truly defend what we believe in.Islam is a religion of peace and harmony,not violent as they put it.Beside,will you burn all the Qurans in the world??????I'm sure more copies are already in the printery,therefore burning a few copies doesn't cost much....besides,burning the Quran isn't putting Islam off scene.So please go ahead and show us the devil in you yet you pretend to be believers....You must remember that we all believe in the same God...."ALLAH"

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3:11 AM  

  • This is a media event, and I think the good people of Gainesville should show up in mass, with their home fire extinguishers in hand, and when the first match is lit they should drown these idiots in a sea of fire retardant foam.

    This would give the media a better event, it would allow the people to show their outrage, and it would show the world that we refuse to be a hostage to a handful of extremists on either side of an explosive issue.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:36 AM  

  • The real issue of this drama has little to do with devilishness or evil or hatred. Instead, it brings into focus the clash of two world views, which derive from their respective holy books. Christianity produces a world view favoring freedom. Americans describe their country as 'the land of the free', and freedom is something they have fought for, and still do. Freedom (particularly freedom of thought) is a distinctly Christian teaching. Jesus said, "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." Christians teach against homosexuality, pornography, adultery, drug abuse, etc., but we tolerate these things in our societies because we believe in God given freedom.
    The world view that comes from Islam majors on submission. Muslims not only teach from the Quran, but have no problem with holding people to those teachings by force. Homosexuals, pornographers, adulterers, drug users and many others face all sorts of penalties, including capital punishment in some countries. Even converting to some other faith can be punishable by law. Freedom is viewed with suspicion to say the least. Political democracy exists only precariously, if at all, in Muslim countries.
    So when Christians announce their intention to burn a book, in the USA they are within their constitutional rights. They have the freedom to follow through, or should have. Muslims would deny them that freedom, and would like to force them to submit to their world view. There is the crux. Our world view versus theirs. Are we who have fought for freedom going to surrender it now to the voices of submission? (And don't think that this path will end here. Other surrenders will be demanded until freedom is but a dim memory.)
    I may question the wisdom of the Quran burners. In fact I suspect Jesus would counsel them to put away their swords. The Christian faith is not served by this sort of confrontation. But, as a society, we must defend their freedom. It is something in which all western-thinking people, Christian or not, have a stake.

    By Anonymous liberty, at 5:55 PM  

  • I'm a practicing Muslim and if burning the koran takes place on 9/11 then the hole world can be sure of the Muslims being ready to defend there religion. it's a warning from the Muslims and us Muslims stick to our words.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:39 AM  

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