There has been an outcry over the last few days from people of faith who are opposed to a display of hate. There have been a flurry of activity from all sides, many against, but still some for. I personally find this pastor to be a morally repugnant person, and like many other people of faith believe that this pastor is in fact not a Christian. As the bible says in 1 John 4:8, if we do not know love we do not know God. Here is an interview with Terry Jones who is the Pastor of the church that is burning the Quran.
Later this Pastor went out and made a public statement that his church is planning to continue in their event to burn the holy book of Islam. I have to admit that I had a horrible association as soon as I heard about this event. The biggest thing that came to my mind was the Nazi’s in Germany burning books. Now they did not burn specifically religious texts, but they did in fact censor the church and make it conform to their political and social agenda. The church in Germany still has scars today from living through the Nazi regime.
I am in no way or form calling Pastor Jones a Nazi, I am merely calling attention to a correlation that I see between certain actions. Why do I see this action as morally repugnant, and why do I think that Pastor Jones actions are counter to my ideas of faith? I think that when we fail to show respect, tolerance, and live in a way that allows for our disagreement we set a bad precedent. When we claim that another persons religion is “evil” or “of Satan” we push people towards extremes. Extremism in any form is not a healthy situation whether it is extreme conservatism, liberalism, or any other extreme points to something out of equilibrium.
Christianity, as well as Islam, have long and bloody histories of wars and fighting. It is a fact that more people have been killed in the name of God than any other. Pastor Jones will indeed incite new extremes in the battles of faith, but that is what all extreme movements are, reactions. We live in a reactionary world, every thing we see is a reaction to something, there is a line of causation that stretches the totality of history. Like Thomas Aquinas our world was set in motion by an “unmoved mover,” God the Creator set our world in motion and everything sense has been a reaction to some motion or movement.
I do not question Pastor Jones freedom to burn the books, I do wish that he and his followers would not, but they are unquestionably free to hold this event. I do find the action to be morally repugnant, but all of us (as God’s children) do things that are sinful and counter to our beliefs. I do think that this event will serve to create more radical enemies of our country and my faith. But this is my reaction, when I see extreme behaviors I call out all the louder for living the Gospel of Peace. I hope the next reaction we see in our religious landscape is not more violent or hateful actions, but a movement towards an attitude of peace for all people of faith.