Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Burning the Quran?
Although I firmly do NOT believe in the Quran, and even though I firmly believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation for all mankind, I believe it's wrong to have a National Quran Burning Day.
A Pastor named Terry Jones from a small church in Florida is planning such an event. And although there are MANY things that are WRONG about the Quran, burning them is not the answer.
Let me give you several reasons WHY we should NOT be burning the Quran. (I found some of this in an Article written by William Harvey.)
1. It really goes AGAINST being a Christian. I am all for standing up for things that are of God. I preached this past weekend on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused to bow down to a golden image, and we need to have the same courage as them. Honor was given to their God (the one true God) because of their devotion. They were standing for truth; they were not trying to burn down Babylon.
In Acts 19:18-20 there were some folks who burned some books, but they were actually scrolls that they themselves had owned. The passage refers to "those who had practiced curious, magical arts" gathering to burn scrolls in which they no longer believed. This is quite a different act from choosing to burn a book in which you have never believed or burning a book that is going to cause pain world wide.
Jesus made it VERY clear in his Sermon on the Mount that we are to LOVE our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. We are to TURN the other cheek and try to befriend those that think differently than we do. How are we ever going to reach the Muslim people if our first act is to offend them by burning the most important thing in their religion?
Once you burn the Quran, you lose all hope of ever reaching them. They will HATE you and HATE your faith. You will drive them FURTHER AWAY from where you want them to be. It's possible to reach the Muslims around the world and introduce them to the Savior, but NOT if you start out by burning their sacred book.
Just last week I had a conversation with a Muslim man about the Lord. Just like Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4, I started out by engaging him in a dialogue about current events and then I moved the conversation along until we were able to talk about Jesus being the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
I believe God would have us be merciful to all and to build bridges that enable salvation, rather than burning bridges that divide and hinder the Gospel.
2. It disrespects the memory of those who died on 9/11.
In the words of Mr. Harvey in an open letter to Mr. Terry Jones, "The vicious thugs who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon almost nine years ago did so in order to widen the cultural divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims. Your planned protest would also accomplish this, allowing the message of violent extremists acting in the name of Islam to resonate more widely. The innocent victims of 9/11 deserve better than for you to use the anniversary of their death to commit an act of which their murderers would have approved."
3. It is un-American.
The First Amendment protects Americans from any government effort to abridge our freedom of speech. We are free to say and do what we please, however not all things are benifical and in fact, some things cause great harm. If our government said that you had no right to express yourself, this would be un-American, but irresponsibly exercising that right stains our hard-earned heritage of liberty and our tradition of tolerance. In the same way that many people feel it's within a legal right to build a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero, just not prudent. The same applies to the burning of the Quran: It might be legal to burn the book, but the wise thing would be NOT to burn it.
I wish everyone felt the same way about our flag. For me the American flag represents the freedom we share. It causes personal pain whenever I see or hear of someone burning a flag. They might have the freedom to do so, but if they were in their right mind they would never do it for the pain it causes in so many people who fought and died for the freedoms we have here in the United States of America.
4. It is endangering American lives.
Your actions endanger not only our military around the world, you are endangering my life and my family. The vast majority of Muslims who learn about the planned protest will peaceably counter-protest, but there will be many, operating under their own perverted interpretation of the religion, who will want to protest by killing Americans wherever they may find them. Thousands of Americans in the military, in the foreign service, and doing humanitarian work in countries from Mauritania to Indonesia (where thousands of Muslims have already marched in protest of your plan) are in danger.
Please join me in praying that this event does NOT unfold and if it does, I pray that we will not be judged by the actions of a few foolish people. But I'm certain we will be, and therein lies the problem beyond our ability to fix.
May God forgive us of ALL of our sins and may we be mericful as God has been merciful to us.