Torching The Quran
By J. Paul Dill
Pastor Terry Jones still plans to burn the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11. Can you imagine, poor "Rev" Fred Phelps feels left out. I am surprised by both the reactions and non-reactions. Apparently some are reconsidering the right of free speach, while others such as Sarah Palin condemn it on the basis of it being insensitive. I was a bit surprised as I gleaned a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh's Show, not sure if he was trying to defend Jones' idea or dismiss it as inconsequential. I remember something about a book burning years ago at a church, except it wasn't books, it was records and tapes. It was more of a symbolic gesture, connected to repentance and faith, as well as public condemnation in concern to its spiritual toxicity.
Of course book burning by churches goes all the way back to first century Ephesus where $50,000 worth of materials related to witchcraft were reduced to ashes. However, its implimentation has not been limited to churches but secular factions as well. Sadly, complete libraries have been destroyed, in an attempt to control the populace. Not confined to the former Soviet Union's atheist regime, astonishingly, even the US military has been guilty of burning the Bible as reported by CNN. Not to be outdone, Wikipedia holds a very lengthy entry on the entire subject.
What is interesting about the whole controversy that is storming around Jones is that while America's founders permenantly placed freedom of religion as the bedrock to our democratic republic, the basis for it was Scripture and reason. For them, the Truth as recorded in Scripture could withstand the test of multiculturalism and religious pluralism. Conversion could not be forced upon someone; it was a matter of personal conscience. They argued that the truth of the Gospel should be reasonably laid out as the method of delivery, rather than the force of the sword. Their basis for this was Scripture.
A pertinent question might be: How can a Christian talk to a Muslim reasonably, if the Muslim has no respect for the Christian? But wait a minute, aren't Muslims our enemy? I am quite frankly shocked at the attitude of some Christians toward Muslims. Jesus, quite emphatically taught us to love our enemies (even at that, many Muslims love America and highly respect Christians). Now that doesn't mean that we should also ignore the mandate to defend those who are defenseless in the case of "Just War" theory. But it at least means that we should love our neighbors as ourself. Isn't that at least one motivational factor for many Christians and patriots who have joined the military? I would hope that it is not out of sheer revenge.
If we who do claim the name Christian do not wish to see a renewed emphasis on burning churches and Bibles (which is already common in the Middle East), we need to consider the consequences of burning Qurans. Trading Bibles for Qurans perhaps would be a much more powerful statement. That would actually require reaching out to Muslims with the Gospel, imagine that. One has to wonder, where is this church getting these Qurans from anyway? From Muslims? Doubtful!
Freedom of speach or not, it takes more than a fire to convert a Muslim.