By now, you’ve certainly heard of Florida preacher Terry Jones’ plan for his church to publicly burn copies of the Koran on Saturday. Jones’ event has drawn international attention, mostly condemnation. General Patraeus, in a rare statement by a top ranking general on a domestic issue, warned that such an event would put our military personnel in the Middle East in harm’s way. President Obama publicly called it a stunt and ask Jones to change his mind. It was reported that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called Jones personally to ask him to call off the event. As I write this, Jones has supposedly suspended the event, but may still go through with it.
It seems that everyone has an opinion, and nearly everyone is agreed: it’s an utterly stupid idea.
A couple of observations:
- Terry Jones has the right to do this, but it doesn’t make it right. Under the First Amendment, Jones has the right to say what he wants about Islam. He has the right to do what he wants with a Qur’an. But just because you have the right to do something doesn’t make it right to do.
- Just a few years ago, this would have been a blurb on the back page of a local newspaper. With our Blackberrys and iPhones with their social media and news outlet apps, we’re connected to world events 24/7. This event exposes one of the cons of a flat world–what could have been an event that no one outside of Florida would have noticed has blown up. The media spreads it, the talking heads wear it out, and it gets the attention of world leaders. Such is the world we now live in.
- This is just another reason for people who don’t trust the church to distrust it even more. It gives all Christians a bad name, even those of us who don’t resort to attention-grabbing stunts such as this.
So how should Christians react to this event (and others like it)? My buddy Jason has written an excellent post on how we should respond to Mr. Jones’ fire-happy plans. Go check it out.