This past Sunday, while I was preaching on the love of Christ as found in the Gospel of St. Matthew, another Christian preacher was preaching hate at his Church in Florida.
Pastor Terry Jones feels that one way to mark the anniversary of September 11th is to burn the Quran. He feels that this will send a message to radical Islam that we are not interested in you. Well I for one would like to send a message to the radical Christians that we are not interested in you! You are what is wrong in this world and your kind are giving the rest of us right believing Christians a bad name. Maybe you should go your local Army Recruiting station and enlist in the military and go and fight for this nation rather than put her military in jeopardy.
Jesus Christ, well at least the Jesus Christ that I preach, preached love of neighbor as yourself. What this “pastor” is doing is preaching hate and as I said on Sunday, “hate has no place in the life of a Christian.” If God is love then He cannot be hate. So hate cannot only come from one other place and that is from the Devil. This “pastor” is no better then the radicals that flew their planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania. If he wishes to commemorate the day then he should be praying for peace and understanding and not causing a riot and fueling anti-Muslim hate.
Today, General David Petraeus has said this action could lead to violence against our troops serving in Afghanistan. I thought as Christians we were supposed to pray for the protection of our troops that are bravely serving our country. I wonder what this “pastor” would say if they decided in Afghanistan to burn the bible in a protest against what he is doing?
The Muslims consider the Quran to be a holy book, much the same way that we Christians think of the bible or the Jews think of the Torah. Why would he think this is a good idea? The only reason that this “pastor” would be doing this is to fuel hate, and I say again hate is of the Devil and has no place in the life of a Christian.
I call on all Christians, and faith leaders from other churches to join me in the condemnation of what is going to happen on September 11th. Our silence is nothing more than approval of this extremist is going to do. The world has no room for extremists, Muslim, Christian, Jewish or anything. What we should be praying for on this day is peace and understand, that’s what the Jesus that I pray to would do!
Disagree with Islam, sure. Try to convert Muslims to Christianity, sure. But this will not do that. We are already seeing a backlash in Afghanistan. Today they were burning the US flag and an effigy of this “pastor” in the streets.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
This is from the Bible that I read each and everyday. Our neighbor is the person living next to us but also the person who hates us and wants to see our destruction. We need to love them as commanded by Jesus in this Gospel passage. Perhaps this “pastor” has a very different view of what his neighbor is, I do not know the man so I cannot say for sure. But based on the hate filled website that his so called Church has set up, I would say he does not take this verse of the Bible very serious.
Love is the summation of the entire Christian Gospel. Jesus entire life was spent loving people even those that disagreed with Him. With His very last breath He asked God to forgive those who had crucified Him. He prayed for and asked forgiveness for the very people who killed Him. Sounds like love to me.
I am not a theologian or a Scripture scholar, but I am pretty confident that Jesus would condemn this action in a very loud voice. I am asking all of you to do the same thing.