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“Burn the Koran Day” in Gainesville: When Crude Isn’t the Only Thing Mucking Up Florida

| August 12, 2010

madrassa gainesville florida dove christian church

Madrassa, Gainesville-Christian style.

Calling it a church slurs the definition of the word. Gainesville’s “Dove World Outreach Center,” which specializes in the manufacturing and spreading of raw hate about Islam and homosexuals right here in our virtual backyard, is a fear-mill that takes pleasure in inciting violence against certain people while casting Florida in the grime of something out of the Inquisition, or 1930s Germany. Oil on beaches isn’t the only thing that damages the state’s image in tourists’ eyes. Crude, bogus preachers do, too.

Earlier this month the center held a “No homo mayor” protest in front of Gainesville’s city hall. On Sept. 11, in what surely will be among the slimiest insults to the memory of the victims of that day, Terry Jones, the church’s leader and verbal terrorist, is holding a “burn a Koran day” at the church. “We’re saying stop to Islam, stop to Islamic law, stop to brutality. We have nothing against Islam,” Jones told an interviewer on CNN. This is the same “church” that sent children to school wearing shirts emblazoned with “Islam is of the devil” in red.

The church’s Facebook page has attracted 4,200 fans. People are reportedly mailing Korans to the church for the burning (an odd gesture that implies people’s willingness to buy the book, then to spend more money mailing it, to underscore their stupidity).

Quoting slanders is problematic. It legitimizes them. It can also bleach them of anything like the legitimacy they crave. In his own “braveheart show,” Jones had this to say: “There is no such thing as moderate Islam. There is no such thing as peaceful Islam. There are moderate or peaceful Muslims, but there is no peaceful Islam or moderate Islam, because you cannot separate Islam from Islamic Law, and Islamic law calls for violence, jihad, war, hates Israel, hates Christians.” Amazing how charlatans can speak so authoritatively on Islamic law in language that should alert remedial educators everywhere. And the guy lives in a university town.

His greatest fear? “If we don’t stand up, we’re going to end up like Europe.” Europe, where about 6 percent of the population is Muslim (less than the proportion of Muslims in New York City).

The Live Column

The frequent and enduring complaint after 9/11 is that Muslim clerics didn’t speak up against it. That’s not true. The Arab and Muslim world’s leading clerics did exactly that, as Muslim clerics did in the United States. They would have lost legitimacy had they not. I’ll be curious to know how many local clerics, Christians especially, will use their pulpits and public voices to denounce this fool in Gainesville. Alachua County isn’t a distant land. It’s Flagler’s neighbor. It’s where Flagler’s children by the hundreds are getting their higher education. It’s practically an annex. To let Jones’ idiocy go unanswered is to be complicit with it.

There should be no doubt where this sort of Taliban-like militancy in Christian garb is coming from. Jones is piggy-backing on the national mob opposing the Islamic center near the old World Trade Center site. Idiocy breeds idiocy, sometimes in dangerous ways. Jones would be an excellent instructor in one of those madrassas that churned out Taliban militants in the 1990s, and still do today. He knows the language, knows the methods of adulterating religious messages to incendiary ends. What his falsely-dove-like church in Gainesville suggests is that the Christian equivalent of those madrassas is now among us. (I wouldn’t want to taint the whole notion of madrassas with the same stereotypical brush as it has in the past ten years: the overwhelming majority of madrassas are just that—schools, madrasssa being the Arabic word for school.)

There should be no doubt, either, that opposing Jones has nothing to do with opposing his rights. He does have the right to burn Korans—or bibles, or flags, or the likeness of Jesus or Mohammed if he so chooses—and that right in and of itself ought to be defended, if it’s ever in question. He also has the right to cast every aspersion he pleases on whatever religion he pleases. He is exercising that right, which is absolute and not in question.

But Jones’ motives and his aims are in question, and his acts should be denounced and opposed with more force than he can project them. Unlike goodness, which requires far more active nurturing to spread, hatred combusts and swells and demolishes easily, and takes concerted work not only to oppose but to reverse, let alone obliterate. Jones’ acts in Gainesville are a blight on the city and the state. Left unanswered, they’re a reflection of what’s worst about America today: an enthusiastic embrace of the very hatreds Islamists are blamed for, but in the name of Christianity or “western” values.

There’s an irony in play here, in that this is an appeal to the Christianity and western “values” that, in previous centuries, made Christianity and western civilization, American civilization included so lethal around the world (and on American soil), so destructive and demeaning to people not white, not “Christian,” not western. Terry Jones isn’t something new. He is a recall of the worst that western civilization thinks it has outgrown. With the celebrity and political likes of Newt Gingrich and Sara Palin leading the way to regression (it was Gingrich’s advice to Americans to be less tolerant), western civilization’s foulest days may yet have their renaissance.

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18 Responses for ““Burn the Koran Day” in Gainesville: When Crude Isn’t the Only Thing Mucking Up Florida”

  1. elaygee says:

    Heven’t seen book burnings since Hilter and Goebbels.
    We know how poorly that ended.
    Maybe these nuts in Alachua don’t read books at all?
    If they read their own bible book of fairy tales, they’d see slavery and all the rules their god made to properly catch and keep slaves, incest as ordered by their god, apparently for his own enjoyment and a hundred other happy horror commandements, some of which would get you imprisoned for even saying out loud in public.

  2. Gene says:

    Is this an offshoot of the Westboro Baptist Church? A bunch of crazies.

  3. epic fail says:

    I truly hope NO ONE is surprised by this. And I see they advertise their intelligence level in front of their building!! At least there is another whole group of fine citizens i can laugh at. They might have taken the top spot away from the Tea Party peeps. C’mon teabaggers, say something really stupid, the bar has been raised. hahahahahaha

  4. Bob K says:

    If your goal was to prove there are extremists disguising as “Christians,” you win. I’m not convinced this attitude is widespread among “Christian” churches. Bad form, indeed.

    “C’mon teabaggers, say something really stupid, the bar has been raised. hahahahahaha”

    It certainly has……

  5. Kevin says:

    At least they’re not blaming Islam being of George Bush (although everything else currently failing due to the failed policies of Obama is)

  6. Rob F says:

    Unfortunately, zealots thrive in every religious and non-religious sect. Burning the Koran is not the answer and will only produce more hate. A genuine Christian ( and they are out there) does not react through violence or political movements but through a changed life. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” .

  7. starfyre says:

    burn em all!!

  8. BW says:

    This particular church group is not Christian in my opinion, and never will be. It is not enough to read the New testament, proclaim you believe in Jesus Christ died for your salvation, and say you are then Christian. Christian is about being that proclamation in the world in all one does and is.

    Starfyre, would you have the same response if the persecution was your own religion?

  9. Rafael says:

    Let’s burn witches too!

  10. starfyre says:

    yes–but then again i barely follow my own faith properly

    im a gossip queen and i broke a sin


  11. heywood jablomie says:

    tristam is an anti Christian anti American libertard jackass

  12. Billy says:

    I agree with heywood

  13. Anita says:

    Strange George Bush held many dinners for his Muslim friends during Ramadan, spoke of Saudi princes as “brothers” and was openly photographed embracing and holding hands with a Saudi King. No Problem! President Obama simply states the law of the land and is vilified.

    Your bigotry is breathtaking!

  14. dj says:

    Anita I was wondering that the other day.

  15. John says:

    Pierre, I’m always very critical and cynical when it comes to your editorials, so as I read this one I was pleased to see you defend the rights of these people to burn the Koran, just as the pro-mosque people in NYC have every right to build the mosque near ground zero. This Jones guy is nuts, no doubt. I have a problem with Gen. Petraeus commenting that this could put us in a dangerous position in the Islamic world and put troops in danger. Our troops have been in danger for the past six years, and if moderate Muslims won’t crack down on their own hate spewing radicals, why should we try to muzzle our hate spewing radicals ? They have no tolerance, so why should we ? I ask these questions aloud to myself and then I answer myself – it’s not productive to burn Koran’s – we as a country are better than that and should demand better of ourselves. We accomplish nothing by burning Koran’s. Zero. Before I really start sounding like a liberal, I do feel our country needs to stop apologizing for being great and to let all of our haters know that. It’s time for the world to stop blaming the USA for everything that goes wrong and take responsibility. The Muslim world can show us a lot by policing those who are bastardizing their religion.

  16. AD2010 says:

    To quote the Book that he is NOT burning:

    Acts 17:23

    “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.”

    Paul the apostle did NOT smash these people’s alter or statue…He utilized it to speak of Who God is and what He has done through Christ Jesus. Whether you believe this or not, as a Christian, I would tell this man to read the Bible for direction on what God wants him to do. Too many pray for a direction or a voice that goes against the written Word before they discover what it plainly says. As I can see many comments above have proved.

    Try to find a surgeon that is a little off on his knowledge before you go in for an operation….

    The gospel that Jesus brought was simple: We all have broken/violated God’s commandments/law so we deserve what God has written we would receive on the Day we stand before Him. But we are to communicate the Christ took the penalty in full that we deserved. This is Rosh Hashanah. We are to obey the Gospel not just know it from memory. What is the Gospel? You either know it or you don’t. You either are born again/a new creation in Christ/transformed or you are not.

    You will know them by their fruits:Love, Joy, Peace, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Kindness, and Self-Control…to name a few.

    Terry Jones should know this…

    Sounds like he doesn’t.

  17. Rick Capano says:

    Burn them all Korans and the Extermist’s themselves It’s o.k. for them to burn our Flag and cut off the heads of “the evil zionists”, Not to mention fly jets into the Towers but burn the Koran.. Allah Forbid…. And for you Liberal morons out there “go back under the covers” you talk a good game but when it comes to action you run and hide like little Pussy’s

  18. Rick Capano says:

    Can we make this a National Holiday? Invite some good friends and family over, Roast a nice big pig, have a few beers and then top it all off with an ol’ fashion Barn Fire with the Koran as kindleing. Sounds good to me…..

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