Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burning the Koran

The deicision of a Florida preacher and his congregation to burn copies of the Koran to commemorate 9/11 this coming Saturday is not only outrageous but a completely cowardly act.  The minister, whose congregation numbers about 50 members, is completely misguided in his pending actions. 

Yes, constitutionally speaking, he does have the right to burn the books.  There is no arguing that.  The same can be said for the planned mosque in New York.  The owners of the property do have a right to build anything they see fit on their lot.  However, in both instances, the right does not translate into the prudent act.

Burning the Koran will undoubtedly lead to violence against America and Americans accross the globe.  It is an unneccessary act that will only promote more bloodshed in an already too bloody conflict.  The Koran is the holy book of Islam and, as such, should be respected for that reason alone.  If a group of Muslims were to publicly burn copies of the Holy Bible, what would the minister say to that?  How would he respond to such a provocative action?

Our Lord is very clear on this subject.  There is no room for debate.  He said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."  (Mt 5: 44-45)  This is the real course of action that should be taking place this Saturday.

We do need to take a stand where extremism of any kind is concerned.  Extremists, also known as Zealots, never bring anything good.  They do not stop to consider the position of the oppostion and become self-righteous in the process.  This is the case here.

What will take place if the Koran is burned, is not an act of a Christian, a true believer in Jesus Christ.  In a sense, this misguided minister becomes just like those whom he protests against--an extremist.  He performs an abhorrent act using religion as a convenient cover for his hatred and anger.

All of are saddened and angered when we think of the events of nine years ago.  Who can forget the images that were burned into the American consciousness that morning of the two towers belching black smoke accross the clear New York sky?  Who will ever forget the horrifying pictures that came to us of people jumping from windows 100 stories above the pavement rather than facing burning to death?   We will never forget those events of that day, but we must not allow ourselves to become an extremist in response to this kind of action.

Does the minister have the right to burn the Koran in protest?  Yes.  Is it the prudent thing to do?  No!  We must find more peaceful and more powerful ways of communicating our anger and distrust than the destruction of the Koran or the books will not only be consumed by the flames.  The flames of hate will, if we are not careful, will consume us as a society, destroying the best hope for peace on the planet.