Even if Pastor Jones is doing no more than fanning the flames of hatred it is still a most unfortunate action to burn a Qur’an ( Koran) when it is clear it is a highly venerated sacred book in the eyes of those who follow the Islamic faith. It sends a message to Islamic people that Jones as a representative of Christianity is an intolerant bigot and the fact that he was allowed to get away with it sends a further message suggesting that his actions may even be acceptable to other Christians.  It is true that freedom of speech is valued in the US but when the actions are almost inevitable in their expected harm (cf General Petraeus’ comments which led to the previous Jones Qur’an burning being abandoned) it is hard to know where freedom of speech stops and actions contributing to unlawful killing begin. The immediate consequence should not have been a surprise in that many Islamic religious leaders had explained repeatedly over some months just how offensive such an action would be interpreted.
Remember that the US in particular is trying to win the hearts and minds of those who might otherwise be their enemies in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Every time there is a stupid action on the part of the US representatives, whether it be a trophy kill photo of US soldiers with dead civilians, or evidence of ill-treatment of prisoners, the cause for peace is seriously damaged.

It is true that had not Hamid Kazai given publicity to the action  by giving a vitriolic speech in Kabul,condemning Pastor Jones and calling for his arrest, it may have even been that the news of the action might not have reached the notice of the general Afghani population.   And no doubt the Taliban will have used the occasion as an excuse to turn what otherwise might have been a small scale protest into something much more significant.   But that is the nature of history.
In a world where faiths are judged on the actions of the self-claimed adherents, although Pastor Jones hopefully only represents a minority of bigots, his highly publicised action on behalf of what he said was the Christian Church, was always bound to be misunderstood and the protest in response showed that this was exactly how the protestors saw the situation. In the event, the huge demonstration it caused in response was so intense it got out of hand and some UN workers were killed.
Those wishing to condemn the small proportion of Islamic fanatics who are suicide bombers as typical of Islam should reflect that it only takes a few nut cases like Jones to send an identical message about Christianity.

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  1. Bruce Gorton says:

    That’s a bit much isn’t it? I mean one guy burns a book, the others kill people – these are not equivalent acts.

    • peddiebill says:

      Yes, it is certainly not the sort of thing I would do. But remember the killing took place in a context where both sides have been killing over a number of years… and have been encouraged to do so…where else do you think they get the weapons? However in such an already inflamed situation when the religious leaders say very clearly if you continue to insult our faith and burn our sacred book we will take revenge, it takes a rather unusual sort of bigot to do precisely that … and not only that act – but now says he wants to insult the founder of their faith. I dont think a career in the United Nations is necessarily Pastor Jones’ best choice for a future career.
      it is not exactly the most helpful and wise thing to do

  2. Joanna says:

    I want to agree with you on one hand and disagree with the other at the same moment…
    at times that situations, political atmosphere, and wars at hand we don’t need anyone waving a red cloth to infuriate the bull….
    I don’t particularly agree with Pastor Jones burning the Quaran…
    but I also can understand his point of view…
    lets see…
    the radical Muslims are BUTCHERING Christians and Jews…they are burning down churches and synagogues, burning publicly our Bibles and American Flag…(for years now)
    celebrating the death of Jewish family (3 of them children)
    …it will never be erased from my memory the cheering thousands of Muslims minutes after thousands perished in 9/11 attack….

    so with the same principle you are advocating…
    after my now ex-husband cheated on me and I burned every single picture of him from our family album..
    should he have beheaded me or shot me?…..

    Is that so wrong to stand for what you believe?!!
    and if you do, you will be ridiculed as a bigot?….

  3. peddiebill says:

    Your feelings are entirely understandable. The things that you say worry you – should worry all in the West. For one thing it should raise the question as to why so many Islamic bystanders should have expressed joy at 9-11. I want to suggest that at least part of the answer comes obvious when you consider some events in modern history.You ask if it is wrong to stand for what you believe. For me the answer is no – provided my standing for what I believe doesnt cause unnecessary hurt to others. Thus burning books is unlikely to ever be an acceptable form of protest. … Unless of course you approve of Hitler and the other famous book burners.

    Unfortunately it is not just a question of identifying enemies and the actions of enemies that infuriate us. The real question is how do we go about reducing the tension with our potential enemies. War is a very expensive and often ineffective way of obtaining long lasting peace. I suspect insulting others’ religion will never be top of the list either. I wonder for example if, instead of invading Iraq, the West had offered them help, would they have still reacted to us as enemies? If I come calling on your community with guns blazing, dropping Napalm and supporting policies of torture and revenge and leaving your country devastated and in turmoil- why would I expect you to see me as a liberator? If on the other hand I came offering help with education, reconstruction and friendship, why would you persist in seeing me as an enemy? Dont forget that those who crashed the planes into the Twin Towers did not come from Iraq which was invaded in apparent reprisal despite the official and now clearly false excuse of weapons of mass destruction. Why should we be surprised that some of our victims’ families no longer appear to like us?

  4. Cherel says:

    PB: It sends a message to Islamic people that Jones as a representative of Christianity is an intolerant bigot and the fact that he was allowed to get away with it sends a further message suggesting that his actions may even be acceptable to other Christians.

    CJ: I find it interesting that a liberal/progressive’s tolerance only flows one way. There is complete tolerance for Muslims, providing them every excuse in the book for their behavior, even when it involves wanton destruction and murder; and zero tolerance for Christians. The “messages” you send for them condemn the Christians. You even feel free to label them as “intolerant bigots”, “nut cases”, “wackos”, “far right fundamentalists”, etc. Where’s the tolerance you preach? Can you not see the inconsistency here?

    As a Christian, I do not support Koran burning as a means of solving problems. But, as an American, I understand that an individual has the freedom to express his personal feelings through actions that others disagree with.

    When you say the fact that “he was allowed to get away with it” implicates other Christians, you lose me. We don’t lock people up before they do something in America– especially when it falls within the boundaries of acting out of one’s individual liberty.

    How could he have been stopped? Many Christians expressed disagreement with his intentions. What else were they supposed to do?

    In America, we do not silence the opposition. We are supposed to control ourselves, not our neighbors.

  5. peddiebill says:

    The fact is that he was stopped the previous time – and without the need to lock him up. Simply by having many in the community making clear statements at every level he agreed to cancel his first book burning. This did not happen second time around.
    You are right to draw attention to my inconsistency in calling him a bigot. I can only say I am extremely intolerant of intolerance (!?!) particularly when it leads to hurt – or in this case multiple murders and couldnt think of any other way of expressing my feelings directly. On rereading my words I agree I should have been more careful. I am still undecided whether it is best to speak plainly or seek a very diplomatic way of putting things. My confusion is not helped when I note that even Jesus said some pretty intolerant things about intolerant people.
    If you have read all my posts you may remember that I have also taken on a fundamentalist Muslim – whose view was that only the Christians do terrible things and Muslims are merely reacting in self defence. I pointed out to him that Muslims have the same chequered history of violence as have the Christians – and also pointed out to him the verses in the Qua’ran that were used to excuse violence. (He finished up by making the same accusations about me from his conservative Muslim point of view – ie that I was too one eyed in favour of Christianity -as you have done from your conservative Christian point of view saying the exact opposite!) However I wish to point out that I do not excuse Muslim violence – or any violence and can point to things I have written to prove it.
    I think ultimately we have to be pragmatic and take the action that works. In this case leaving Pastor Jones to have his protest led to disaster and even if you only find this out with the wisdom of hindsight I hope you will be thinking now about the wisest thing to do before he carries out his stated intention next time.
    I am also interested that you do not share my view that Pastor Jones is a bigot. I gather from some of your other comments you share at least some of his views about the Qur’an, which I guess in a free country is your right. (far right?) Maybe, if others felt similarly, that is why the more conservative Church leaders were muted in their reaction to what some of us thought was ill-advised and dangerous planned stupidity.

  6. Cherel says:

    It was not September 11th, his planned burn date, and I wasn’t aware he was going to do it until it was done. Did he advertize the event? Did the media cover it ahead of time? If so, I missed it. And, I’m thinking that’s why their weren’t more protests.

    PB: I am also interested that you do not share my view that Pastor Jones is a bigot.

    As to what I think of Pastor Jones personally, I would have to say I don’t know much about him. I did some internet research last night and watched a couple of interviews with him. The media (liberal, leftist, progressive) was very negative (disrepectful and confrontational) toward him and about him. They called him belligerent for simply expressing his views and refusing to change his mind or plans. There was no serious attempt to understand why he felt it necessary to take such an action.

    So, what did he say? He said He felt he needed to burn the Koran to send a message to Muslims. He seems to be concerned about their intolerant treatment of Non-Muslims (Coptic Christians, etc.). So, to use your words, I got the impression that he is feeling “extremely intolerant of the intolerant.” And, he felt that burning a Koran would showcase his feelings. He viewed his action as patriotic. He mentioned the need for Muslims to respect the Constitution of the USA. (If the interviews had been less confrontational and more inquisitve, Pastor Jones may have given a more thorough explanation of his motives. I’m not sure.)

    As for the use of words like bigot, it’s not really a part of my vocabulary. I don’t like to use negative labels like bigot or hypocrite or wacko or nutcase. Scriptures forbid the use of fool or idiot and I see too much similarity there.

    You are right that Jesus didn’t mince words in dealing with the Scribes, Pharisees and religious leaders of his day. He was, however, speaking to them and not about them. He called them hypocrites, blind fools, blind guides, snakes and sons of vipers! And he listed their sins and errors in context with those descriptive labels. But, Jesus is God and He knows men’s hearts and motives as well as their actions. I feel we, as humans, should, as a practice, limit ourselves to commenting on and opposing actions and should refrain from labeling the person. There are exceptions, of course. When a person “persists” in overt actions that clearly reveal a twisted moral condition it seems safe to use descriptive words like immoral, perverted, sadistic, etc. Those are words of warning for others.

    What is the real purpose of bigot? To say someone is “entrenched in intolerance” because I disagree with their take on religion or politics seems to reflect on me as much as it does on them. The use of bigot, hypocrite, fundamentalist, zealot, etc., is rampant among the Politically Correct crowd because they are attempting to silence those they disagree with by censuring and intimidating them with labels. It seems to be a tactic Christians should avoid.

    PB: I gather from some of your other comments you share at least some of his views about the Qur’an, which I guess in a free country is your right. Maybe, if others felt similarly, that is why the more conservative Church leaders were muted in their reaction to what some of us thought was ill-advised and dangerous planned stupidity.

    This is an odd statement. I would think in any country a person should have a right to decide what they “think” about a particular book. You (in New Zealand) have decided what you think about the Koran. I have my view of the Koran. My view of the Koran has nothing to do with Pastor Jones. There is no link between my view of the Koran or similar views possibly held by other Conservative church leaders and what Pastor Jones did. I really don’t think most people knew he was going there again.

    Pastor Terry Jones is alone responsible for burning the Koran. Other Christians had nothing to do with it and should not be condemned by association. A mob of Muslims went on a murderous rampage because they chose to and they are responsible for their actions.

    PB: some of us thought was ill-advised and dangerous planned stupidity.

    I have to say, respectfully, if some of you knew in advance that Pastor Jones was at it again before he burned the Koran, some of you should have tried to stop him.

  7. peddiebill says:

    I am sorry that you are so concerned about the way I expressed my disapproval of Pastor Jones. I guess it is more my frustration that many could see the consequences coming and in practice nothing was done to prevent the inevitable of people dying unnecessarily. I do not accept people in the US did not see it coming – because even in New Zealand it was signalled in plenty of time for reaction. I take your word that you didnt know which raises some interesting questions about your information sources. I can assure you that I placed my disapproval on several sites in the US. However my article on the subject would not have had much effect because I have no authority in the US.
    Now an unrepentant Pastor Jones has signalled his next likely action will be to “try” the Prophet – which even in Dayton should signal a likely worse outcome – it will be interesting to see how decisively those with influence in the US will react. If your last comments are any guide I will not be holding my breath.

  8. Cherel says:

    There is so much going on here and around the world that I don’t have time to monitor everything.

    I abhor the loss of life on any level from unborn children to abused animals.

    From what I can determine, mobs of Muslims and other extremists will find a reason to kill no matter what. It’s impossible for them not to be provoked about something because their religion (or lack of it) keeps them miserable. They are living in deep darkness.

    To care about them, one should be trying to share some light rather than coddling them in their darkness.

    To stop Pastor Terry Jones from putting the prophet on trial would be a complete abridgement of the freedom guarenteed in our Constitution. Everyone’s opinion is to be allowed here.

    This reminds me of Gideon’s situation in chapter 6 of Judges.

    28 When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down… 29They said to one another, “Who did this thing?” And when they searched about and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash did this thing.” 30Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” 31But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? … If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar.”

    If Allah is God let him defend his prophet.

    The unstable reaction the Muslims exhibit over every offense is clearly ungodly. They burn Bibles, crosses and churches and slaughter Christians regularly. Since that is undeniable. Why defend them?

  9. peddiebill says:

    I am not defending them. The reason why I wrote my two books on the Middle East and the reason why I was on the Board of the Peace Foundation is because I too am strongly opposed to violence. That includes violence done in our name – and inciting violence. However remember earlier I was pointing out that some of those killed are Muslims killed at the hands of Christians – and I am actually surprised that you appear not to have noticed! Go to the figures of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are available. They are also much higher than those killed by suicide bombers.
    I have spoken to a soldier who witnessed unnecessary killing of civilians by US soldiers in Afghanistan and to a security worker who had seen the same in Iraq. Perhaps this might suggest a clue as to why when you are seeking to bring light to the ungodly Muslims they are seeking to bring light to those they consider to be ungodly Christians.
    I have to accept your explanation of freedom of speech but it seems a little strange to me. If for example someone was holding a knife to your throat as a result of something your husband had said – and the person holding the knife announced that should your husband repeat the comment thought to be offensive he was going to use the knife… you are telling me that it would be fine because of the interests of freedom of speech and the Constitution for your husband to repeat his comment. Well – if you say so…. I think I will need to think about that… In this small part of the world I suspect many would say to repeat the comment under those circumstances would be stupid and dangerous – even inexcusable. And that is nothing to do with freedom of speech. In New Zealand I suspect the majority would probably tend not to deliberately aggravate those we suspect of being angry and unstable …. even in the interests of free speech ….but on the other hand I dont live in Dayton! It may well seem different from your point of view.

  10. Cherel says:

    I appreciate your opposition to violence. I applaud it. As Christians, we are instructed to do all we can to live at peace with all men. It is how I and my family live. We even taught our daughters to refrain from retaliating when children were mean to them.

    That said, I have to say the personal example you gave is not comparable to what’s going on in the world right now. My husband would voluntarily refrain from making a remark to save my life, no doubt, in a single incident. It would be different, however, to be forced to refrain from free speech and action permanently to save one’s life. That would be bondage and that is what Pastor Terry Jones is trying to stand up against.

    I haven’t done anything myself but I don’t think I can condemn him for acting freely in a free nation. If Americans are required to submit to the “Politically Correct” demands of Muslims around the world, we have lost our freedom already. The are bullies. They make demands on others that they would never submit to. And their belligerance has increased because of President Obama’s weakness.

    I have heard about the ways they are forcing their customs and laws on European countries and can see the loss of freedom in those countries already. I have been concerned about this for a long time and wondered what can be done. I do not want o live in a Muslim country– certainly not under Sharia law.

    Our politicians won’t set quotas on Muslim immigration and they treat them with kid gloves once they are here. Christians are discriminated against in this country. We have lost a lot of freedom already, such as prayer and celebrating Christian Holidays with Christian plays and programs in our public schools because a small minority of people “may” be offended. The majority is forced by liberal judges to give way to the minority. Principals and teachers can’t lead prayers at football games or graduations but students still have some freedom in those situations.

    However, the liberal judges will rule in favor of allowing secular humanism and other religions freedom to express themselves publicly. Muslims are given privileges to help them practice their religion publicly (even in the schools) as Christians are being harrassed and denied. This is what Pastor Jones says he is tryong to call attention to. He lived in Europe and saw the trends there and then he came home to America and saw the same trends here.

    I do not think that the number of war casualties can be compared fairly against non-war casualties. That’s comparing apples and oranges. Check the figures on “innocent” victims of Muslim terrorists versus “innocent” victims of Christian terrorists (that’s an oxymoron). Again, I deplore the killing, but if Americans soldiers are killing civilians or anyone without cause, those soldiers are not Christians. You seem to think all Americans are Christians and that is far from the truth.

    America can’t seem to get it right. Many countries and both of our political parties were convinced Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when our troops were sent in. And it’s highly likely he did. Israeli Intelligence documented caravans of huge trucks moving unknown contents out of the country as Americans troops were arriving. Anyway, many of those yelling for Americans to intervene turned on them once they did– including our own Democrats.

    No real thanks for removing Saddam Hussein who was a mass murderer of his own people. No thanks for lives that were saved, only criticism for lives lost. The same thing will probably happen in Libya– and what in the world are we doing in Afghanistan? Maybe you know. It’s beyond me.

  11. peddiebill says:

    I think we will just have to agree that we disagree.
    You appear to think that Pastor Jones should be allowed to continue despite the riots and murders he seems to be triggering. I don’t agree because I think the damage done to the image of Christianity – and to those hurt or killed is actually more important than his freedom to say what he liked. Remember Hitler didn’t actually kill people personally – he exercised his right of free speech to make it happen. However I have attempted to explain this several times to you – and there seems little point in repeating myself. You say Pastor Jones’ right to speak is worth protecting and to me you seem to be saying that he is speaking about the correct things. Since I can’t convince you I will cease trying. But just to put it on record if he moves to continue with his next plan, for what it is worth I predict many more will die.
    You are concerned that the US is not appreciated for its intervention in Iraq, done according to you because Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was killing his people. He was indeed a nasty ruthless person. One day you might like to ask why the US armed him in the first place, why they intervened in Iraq when there have been many worse dictators, why they encouraged him against the Kurds and even sent two Chemical weapons experts to advise him on the use of Chemical weapons, and why the US has intervened or provided assistance to the countries which have a key role in oil production – while ignoring the mass killings in countries where there is no oil. Remember too that the Christians are now very much worse off without Saddam to protect them and the killings of civilians since the intervention started has been horrendously worse than anything done by Hussein. I take little pleasure in having predicted the outcome in my book Anatomy of Terror published shortly before the war started – but please don’t say nobody could know what would happen. (Mind you many years back at University I also tried to tell people about what would happen in Vietnam and why – and got absolutely nowhere. I was told by one senior politician I was in danger of being called a Communist.)
    You say you don’t know why the US is in Afghanistan! I hope you are kidding.
    For myself when I see states or nations or religious groups who appear opposed to my country and allies, I personally find it useful to ask why they feel that way. I could be wrong but from your comments you dont seem interested in that question. When I turn it around and try to see it from the opponents’ point of view I encounter all sorts of interesting factors I had not previously thought to consider.
    But quite honestly – I realise that I am getting nowhere in this discussion with you. You have not convinced me to change my mind, and I don’t appear to have made any headway with you. End of debate. Next topic?

  12. Cherel says:

    Yes, I’m ready to end the debate. I have tried to respond seria item to most of your points in this and our other discussions. You seem to ignore the details and go into rants. How is that trying to understand the ‘other side’s viewpoint’? It’s important for individuals as well as countries.

    We both want peace but your solution seems to be Neville Chamberlain’s peace at any price. If no one had resisted Hitler, he would have ruled the world. The same is true of Islam. I see no hope of changing their minds (as a group) about Jihad and world domination. Islam has been violently aggressive from it’s inception but you refuse to discuss Islam or it’s crimes. Unless you want to be a Muslim under Sharia law, I would think you would be concerned about what’s happening as well. Ignoring the problem isn’t making it go away.

    Your claim to be concerned about the reputation of Christianity is hard to accept when your site seems dedicated to undermining it. That may be something you should think about.

    I did not say I don’t know why we went to Afghanistan. I was questioning what we are accomplishing and why we are still there. How can it end when the terrorists can play hide and seek in the mountains forever? It’s simply spending money we don’t have.

    I think God has endowed you with exceptional intelligence and life experience. I wish you well.

  13. Scott Thong says:

    Funnily enough, Terry Jones’ case is actually much better justified – relatively speaking, of course.

    I mean, you got cases like the recent one in Egypt where a Coptic man was seeing a Muslim woman, so the woman’s dad’s cousin demanded he kill her for honour, which led to cousin killing dad when he refused, and then the Muslims blaming the Christians and starting a chain of riots, destruction and killing.

    Or that case a few years back where a Muslim in Pakistan drew a cartoon of a boy naming his cat Muhammad, which led to Muslims in Nigeria rioting and killing Christians.

    Or the 1979 siege of the Grand Mosque where Muslims killed Muslims and the resulting blame went to – for a change – the US and Zionists.

  14. peddiebill says:

    Saying that some Muslims have done stupid and nasty things in the past is one thing, but surely that doesnt justify doing something known to be offensive in return.

    • Judi says:

      “Muslims have done stupid and nasty things in the past?” Wow. Don’t be so hard on them Bill. If you don’t tone it down a bit you may cause a riot somewhere.

  15. peddiebill says:

    Nice point! But I would say in my defence I was commenting on Scott Thong’s list where he was listing actions that appear to non Muslims to be stupid and nasty.
    If I had wanted to make Scott’s point I might have said it more cautiously eg something like…. The Sufi (who are Muslim) are curently complaining that the Salafists (also Muslim) are destroying their Mosques in India. It is a matter of record that Sunni and Shia (also Muslim) have been killing one another in Iraq. Such actions suggests that Muslims are just as guilty as Christians of being intolerant with one another cf. the Catholics versus Protestants in Northern Ireland, or the genocide in Rwanda.
    Before pointing the finger at Muslims for their apparent stupid and nasty behaviour, Christians should inspect the finger for dirt.

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