April 04, 2011

Over the weekend, riots erupted in Afghanistan after reports that a "preacher" in Florida had burned the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an. At least 21 people have been killed in three days of protests. All because one self-centered, publicity-seeking "Christian" burned a Qur'an (the more we learn about this "church"--such as in a recent Washington Post article--the more it sounds like a cult). Terry Jones first catapulted into the headlines last year when he announced a plan to burn copies of the Qur'an. His plan was condemned by numerous Christian leaders and by national security leaders--including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and General David Petraeus. Jones decided not to go ahead with his hateful, foolish plan--until recently, when he held a mock trial for the Qur'an and then burned it immediately after finding it guilty (because nothing says 'I'm reasonable and fair' like a staged trail with instant execution). In my first book, For God's Sake, Shut Up!, I critiqued similar incidents, such as when Jerry Falwell's hateful comments about Muhammad sparked riots in India. As I argued then, and reiterate now with Jones, people must seriously consider the consequences of what they say and do. In this more recent case, the moral blame that Jones has for the deaths is even greater because he had been repeatedly warned that this act would lead to violence. The fact that he did it anyway with no concern for who would get hurt or how much the Christian witness would be damaged proves that Jones is not worthy to be called a "pastor." His ungodly act must be rejected by all. In fact, when I think of Jones, a certain Cee Lo Green song comes to mind. Hopefully, Christian leaders will step forward, condemn this act, and work to present a better image of our faith. For instance, Reverend Joel Hunter did a good job of critiquing Jones on the BBC yesterday. Perhaps we can soon return to a time when a different person is the best-known Terry Jones.