I wasn’t planning to weigh in on Terry Jones and his plans to burn a boat load of Qurans this Saturday; September 11th. But when I saw a number of folks commenting about it on Face Book this morning I changed my mind. I hardly ever dive into politics anymore and may actually blog about that decision in the future. But I do want to discuss current issues of the day and relevant ways citizens of the Kingdom of God can respond to them and process them. On this issue, it would seem that “Pastor” Terry is a bit misguided here in interpreting exactly how Jesus would have handled the situation and what the spiritual ramifications are.
To begin with, I find the whole thing humorous if not sad on at least three points.
1. In light of the backdrop of the Muslims right to build a Mosque and community center just a couple of blocks from Ground Zero in NY it does cause some confusion. Some of same folks who are supporting the Mosque are now blasting Terry for his desire to burn the Quran. Is this like George Orwell in Animal Farm who said, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
2. By the press running all over this with high profile figures and interviews, things are actually getting worse. Why not just leave the whole thing alone as he’s just one little guy in Florida? It kind of reminds me of a polar bear being frightened by a chihuahua nipping at its heels.
3. Actually, whether Terry realizes it or not, there is a good chance that his plan will back fire. My hunch is that for every Quran he burns, there will be someone who is going to order one from Amazon just to see what all the hubbub is about. On the darker side of this, there will probably be more persecutions of authentic Christ followers because of his actions. But note below.
Part of this really is a legal and political debate. Terry even alluded to that fact himself by saying he was doing this to “send a clear message to the radical element of Islam that the United States will no longer be controlled and dominated by their fears and threats.” His point being that Muslim, or Sharia Law, would not be tolerated in the US where we are governed by the Constitution. This is actually what is beginning to take place little by little in parts of Europe and in the UK where there have been cases of Sharia courts passing jurisdiction against women contrary to English law. This has been the story of the Islamic spread in the world. When you check your history, what you find is that Mohamed and his followers started in the southern Mediterranean world and conquered everything north to Turkey and presented their conquered nations with the two options of conversion to Islam or death. Oh, yeah, they also allowed slavery at times as another option to death. So Terry’s point is that America will not follow suit with the rest of the world. Yet, that is what appears to actually be happening when US key leaders capitulate to the Muslim saber rattling. Kind of sounds like the principle of a middle school giving in to a bully who is berating kids who don’t agree with him. The bully is allowed to push his agenda and everyone else is told to be quite so as not to upset him. From my understanding of the role of government, it is to maintain order and protect its citizens, not give in to the threats of terrorists. Don’t blame Terry for being an America and exercising his right even if he’s misguided. Blame the radical Islamists.
Fingers are being pointed at Terry and his actions are being called all kinds of things. Personally, I do not agree with what he is doing. I think his actions are wrong. But out of fear and political reasons, I don’t hear anyone in the major media outlets talking about all the Muslims who are not only burning bibles, but also burning church buildings and even Christ followers. About Jones, Angelina Jolie noted that she has “hardly the words that somebody would do that to somebody’s religious book.” But I’m wondering where Jolie and the main stream press were just a few years ago when a Missionary and his son were burnt alive in their vehicle by Indian Muslims. That one didn’t make the 6:00 evening news. Why? Because there was no money in it and a fear of offending radical Muslims. It all sounds like those in the 1930s who didn’t want to speak out against Hitler for fear. It would seem like the best, “political” option is to just move forward and ignore, while not giving into the bullying tactics of radical Islam. One of my favorite things about Winston Churchill was his constant habit of referring to Hitler as that “Little Corporal” and not his self proclaim, “The Fuhrer.”
From a spiritual standpoint, what does all this say about Islam and authentic Christianity? It really is a spiritual issue at the core anyway and when we quiet all the commotion in our hearts and are honest with ourselves, we know that. At the deepest part of our beings, we are indeed spiritual. We don’t always recognize this because we often become comfortably numb with the things of this world. So what about radical Muslims and why do they have to kill to get their point across? Mohamed took a stab at the issue and claimed revelations from God to create Islam. There are five main pillars to be followed. If you keep them well enough, you might get into heaven. There are also parts of the Quran which talk about bringing persecution upon those who don’t submit to Allah. So it would stand to reason that a radical Muslim would take those parts of the Quran to heart as well. The more the better and better the chances of paradise.
Yet on the other hand, Jesus Christ came and claimed to be the Son of God. HE died and rose again proving His divinity. He also said that we are to “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” That sounds a whole lot different than radical Islam. That sounds like what the world really needs.
But on the specific act in question, Terry is an American citizen and as citizens we have immense freedom. We even have freedom to do things that aren’t very smart or beneficial to our testimony of Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus did get radically angry at times. But his anger was directed toward those who claimed to walk in the leadership of God but instead only furthered the guilt of the people. He didn’t attack the Greek gods of the day or rip the Egyptian divinities. He didn’t push a political agenda. Rather, he preached His Father’s Kingdom of love. So from my observation, that’s really the answer here. What is the loving thing to do? Just truly get to know Jesus, show Jesus, and walk like Jesus. It’s all about Jesus. On my end, if I had more time and money and resources, I’d buy a boat load of Bibles and give them away free on September 11thas Jones is doing his torch job. What would you do?