I got an email today from the Irish News asking me if I had ever been affiliated with Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. As you may know, this is the church that plans to burn hundreds of copies of the Qur’an this Saturday, September 11, 2010, as an awareness protest against Islamic Jihad.
I lived in Gainesville from 1989 to 1992. In fact, The Forerunner was originally a publishing ministry of Maranatha Christian Churches, which had its international office in Gainesville. The office closed in early 1990, but I inherited the privilege of editing the print edition of The Forerunner, which I continued to publish until 1994.
When I lived in Gainesville, I knew the Dove World Outreach Center because I once worked at a Christian school near their location. I don’t know Pastor Terry Jones personally, but I was surprised to find that he has become an overnight international sensation due to the media hype over his plans to burn the Koran on September 11th, 2010. The amount of attention this has been getting is fascinating to say the least.
I disagree with burning the Quran (the only “holy book” with as many variant spellings as interpretations) as an appropriate response to Islamic Jihad. Iconoclasm, or the smashing of idols, has never been an effective way to promote the Gospel even when done in a symbolic way. Yet it is as old as the The Synod of Constantinople (753 AD) and has included the smashing of images of saints during the Reformation. Some Christians have always liked to burn and smash idols. But unless you are Gideon and have access to a leash of foxes (and a prophetic word to boot) then you are just prodding a hornet’s nest.
Although Pastor Terry Jones will be vilified by just about everyone, he is willing to use “theater in the streets” to expose the 800 pound gorilla in the room. How is Islam is different from every other world religion?
I understand fully what this pastor is trying to do. He wants to call attention to the fact that Islam harbors a violent faction – much more so than any major world religion. In fact, Islam, when interpreted by a plain reading of the words and actions of the prophet Mohammed himself, is a violent religion. Perhaps the best documentation of this and what our response should be to Islam is Dr. Peter Hammond’s: Slavery, Terrorism & Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat.
The response of liberal politicians and the media bears this out. Ironically, Dove’s pastor, who shepherds a flock of about 50 church members, has been warned even by top military in the field in Iraq not to burn the Qur’ān because it might inflame the passions of terrorists and put our troops in danger. However, this response is the proverbial “proof in the pudding.” No other world religion would react this way to the burning of its “holy book.” This is exactly what Terry Jones is showing the world.
Years ago, homosexual activist Robert Mapplethorpe and artist Andres Serrano caused a sensation when American taxpayer dollars sponsored an exhibit of Mapplethorpe’s homo-erotic photos and Serrano’s “Piss Christ,” which consisted of a crucifix submerged in a vat of urine. This blasphemous display was milked endlessly by conservatives for political purposes and defended by liberal groups such as the ACLU as “freedom of expression.” However, no one ever suggested to supporters that they ought to end the exhibit because it might cause Christians to do acts of violence on homosexuals.
Likewise, we can imagine an anti-Romney, anti-Beck political hack (like myself) protesting the emergence of Mormonism in American politics by burning the Book of Mormon. Just imagine the backlash from the Mormon community! On one hand, it would certainly cause the lives of evangelical missionaries living in Utah and the western states to be put in peril. However, we justify this Book of Mormon burning to draw attention to the fact that Mormonism is a dangerous religion that sponsors terrorism and holy war.
International Burn the Book of Mormon Day1
I am announcing a Book of Mormon burning day on December 23, 2010, the birthday of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Since I own only one copy of the Book of Mormon, I am asking all readers of The Forerunner, to send in copies of the Book of Mormon to the address at the bottom of this page. These will be burned in a brick barbecue in my backyard on December 23rd. We’ll see how many copies arrive in the mail by then. I will keep you updated at this blog post.
The Bible, the al-Qur’ān (and the Book of Mormon for that matter) each call for Holy War. Most Muslims interpret this metaphorically in the same way that Christians interpret the “spiritual warfare” spoken of by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:11-18.
It is true that nations have waged war in the name of Christianity in the past. The irony is that nearly everyone, including Christianity’s most virulent critics, see the contradiction. There is no such contradiction in Islam. Mohammed himself waged warfare during his own lifetime in order to spread the new religion’s dominance. Jesus Christ and the Apostles did not. They taught peaceful resistance even in the face of martyrdom. Violence done to Christians is often the way that the faith has spread. Later, the Church Father Tertullian wrote, “The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church.”
Even more ironic is the manner in which liberal commentators defend Islam as a peaceful religion. My friend and collaborator, Rusty Thomas, recently wrote a response to a liberal journalist who defended Islam as “peaceful.”
Do you think that you would have the show, the money, the prestige, and the influence you now enjoy, if you were under Islamic domination? Do you think feminists would remain in their rebellion or homosexuals would be free to parade their sin like Sodom in Saudi Arabia? Your gods of pluralism, diversity, tolerance, and relativism are betraying your reason. Muslims are using our Freedom of Religion clause of the Constitution to one day destroy our freedoms. They are using our system against us to establish their tyrannical agenda contained in Sharia law.
Though there are religious elements in Islam, the correct comparison is not akin to Christianity or Judaism. No, Islam is a totalitarian ideology that is more akin to Communism or Fascism. Ideas have consequences and a belief system will lead somewhere. Rev. Benham nailed it when he said, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” What you and others do not seem to comprehend is the more violent a Muslim becomes the more true this person is to the text of the Koran. When will America wake up from the delusion that has corrupted our reason?
However tasteless and ineffectual the act of burning a “holy book” may be, it is brilliant “theater in the streets.” By Saturday, September 11th, 2010, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center will have used the liberal media to prove his own point.
1 I trust that if you have read this far, you understand that this is satire. I don’t really plan to burn the Book of Mormon. It’s a polemic designed to prove a point.