Jewish poet Heinrich Heine wrote 190 years ago, "Them that begin by burning books, end by burning men."
Has it come to this? Do we, as Christians and as a when-it’s-convenient Christian Nation, hate Islam and Muslims so deeply that we could tolerate, even for a moment, the burning of their most prized book?
The Dove World Outreach Center and "Pastor" Terry Jones of Gainesville Florida think so. They’re the ones hosting the Quran burning event. Love the church name, Pastor; glad to see you finally exposed what you mean by it. But you should probably remove the "Dove" part. Doves don’t burn books, and neither did Jesus.
I’m a Christian; prayed the prayer and did the adult baptism in Lake Michigan thing. I used to be pretty vocal about my faith; but I quieted down when I realized that my actions weren’t an example for my words to follow. Since that time, I tried to live my life the way I interpret Jesus’ life. I have made an effort to be compassionate above all; to love my neighbor as myself. It’s not easy because, although we love ourselves, we tend to stop at ourselves, too.
Sure, I could get all fired up at Muslims and join in the hate-fest, but what’s the point? More importantly, Pastor Terry, what would Jesus do? In all of those sacred pages of your most treasured, reverant, Holy Bible, show me the story of Jesus burning a Roman scroll, or a pagan idol. I’ve read that book twenty times through if I’ve read it once; I know it as well as you do. It ain’t in there, anywhere in the New Testament, nor is there anything like it.
In fact, you can count the number of times that Jesus was angry at "outsiders" on no hands…because it isn’t recorded anywhere in the bible. He got angry at his own religion, and at his own disciples, but there is not even one example of an angry Jesus toward another religion. Not one.
So this is how you set the example for your flock? This is the meat of the gospel that you are giving to them? Something that isn’t even part of the Gospel? A method that has more in common with Nazis than with anything Christian or Holy?
I won’t question your Christianity; we all get sidetracked from time to time. But one piece of advice I would give you; anything that encourages you to follow your anger is not of God. Anything that produces destruction is not Holy. You can deduce for yourself what causes these things.
Living a life of compassion is hard enough for the normal human being. There is no room to add anger, hate, and destruction to the mix; these things come naturally enough to us as it is. Why would you go out and seek more?
Pastor Terry, if the light within you has not been bright enough to show your Muslim neighbors the "way", what makes you think a book-fed bonfire will? Remember the last commission Jesus left us with. You can find it at the end of the Gospel according to Matthew.
The last thing America needs right now is to spawn a sect of radicalism. If we denounce that which we see in certain sects of Islam as radical and hateful, how does answering fire with fire make us any different from them? "Them that begin by burning books, end by burning men.". ?