September 9, 2010 3:56:00 PM
Religious extremists do extreme things, no matter their religion. That''s why we''re not surprised that the wrong-headed leader of a small church in Florida plans to burn a Quran, Islam''s holy book, in a bonfire on Sept. 11.
What''s surprising is the support he says he''s gotten.
Pastor Terry Jones, the leader of a 50-member evangelical church in Gainesville, boasted at a press conference that supporters around the country have mailed Qurans to him to add to the fire. A Facebook fan page supporting Jones'' "International Burn-a-Quran Day" has more than 11,000 followers.
That so-called Christians would take part in such a display, or support it, is more than ignorant and disrespectful. It''s un-Christian, un-American, and above all, dangerous.
Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has said as much, warning in an e-mail to The Associated Press that "images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan -- and around the world -- to inflame public opinion and incite violence."
There was a time when an unbalanced, insignificant leader of a tiny church would go about his business unnoticed. But this is the Information Age, and Islamic extremists around the world are among those taking notice of what Jones is planning.
Yes, Jones has the right to free speech, and can burn what he wants. But just because you can do something, doesn''t mean you should -- with freedom comes responsibility. The action flies in the face of religious tolerance and undermines America''s interests around the world.
Right-minded Christians don''t want to be lumped in with Jones. An entire religion shouldn''t be judged by the actions of a few who twist it to their own ends. The same is true of Islam.
The Quran-burning comes as tempers are flaring over the building of an Islamic center a few blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City. To consider the location of the center disrespectful is to blame all of Islam for the 9/11 attacks.
"I don''t think it''s going to do anything more than incite more tragedy and confusion between Christians and Muslims," Pastor Steven James of United Christian Church in Columbus said of the Quran-burning.
We agree. That some still stoke division, mistrust and fear in the name of religion is the real tragedy.
ryannelson commented at 9/9/2010 11:48:00 PM:
It's nice to see this in our paper. It helps me forget that we live in a town where this sort of craziness wouldn't be surprising.
hope commented at 9/10/2010 8:05:00 AM:
I never read or hear about the Muslims condemning these acts of Islamic extremists. Are they afraid of them?
dm commented at 9/10/2010 11:59:00 AM:
I've heard it quite a bit, hope. You apparently just don't read much.
Let's hear more of Christians condemning acts like this book burning more often, too.
warren commented at 9/10/2010 6:08:00 PM:
Read and listen better Hope. Many, if not most, Muslims have condemned terrorism and other acts of violence as well. Just as have all GOOD people of ANY religion the world over.
warren commented at 9/10/2010 6:14:00 PM:
Suggested reading for all: www.m-a-t.org/ and www.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm
There are many others.
melody commented at 9/10/2010 11:08:00 PM:
Fact is , we are still in a world war against islam terrorist. Just because Barry says we're at peace after removing a few combat troops from Irag while leaving 50,000 more in the hands of Iraq troops to defend doesn't mean the world war is over. Our military destroys people and their homes by any means possible. Yes , even if copies of the koran are in the houses. Now , what would piss you off more --some one coming to your town to kill you and destroy your property or someone thousands of miles away burning books? You libs sure need to your heads out, especially the one who wrote the letter. So what, if the terroist don't like what the folks in Fla wanted to do, we're at war with them! They want to harm us enough even to kill themselves in the process of hurting us, no matter how many times Barry bows to them or some concerned Americans stand up and say, " we are not afraid of you and if you don't like what we are doing, show you face, Osama and let's duke it out!
kj commented at 9/11/2010 10:51:00 AM:
When did Obama say we're at peace?
hope commented at 9/11/2010 1:14:00 PM:
@melody----President Obama says by bringing the troops home does not mean we won the war.
The definition of distort;twist out of shape, misrepresent. You could pass that along to FOX.
1. Lynn Spruill: A city Halloween policy? LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Froma Harrop: Canada can be tough on immigration NATIONAL COLUMNS
3. Our View: Ben Bradlee's enduring legacy DISPATCH EDITORIALS
4. Voice of the people: Gerald and Alice Scallions LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
5. Thomas Sowell: Predatory journalism NATIONAL COLUMNS